Lawmakers Want To Boost Students Taking AP Courses

A pair of state legislators want to increase high school students’ access to advanced coursework.

State Assemblyman Chris Eachus, D-Central Valley, and state Sen. Iwen Chu, D-Brooklyn, are proposing (A.7836/S.7213) creation of an Advanced Coursework and Examination Access Program for high schoolers.

The legislation will provide a reimbursement to school districts for all advanced placement examinations and also requires schools to inform students and parents of all advanced coursework, their cost-free status, and the benefits of the successful completion of these courses in their relation to college credit and other academic opportunities.

“Advanced placement classes provide students with an opportunity to experience higher-level coursework in a high school classroom setting,” Pretlow and Chu wrote in their legislative justification. “While these opportunities begin to expose our students to college-level studies, the end-of-year examination costs exclude many of our students from middle and low-income families from receiving the academic credit for their work. Currently, states like Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina provide their AP students with a cost-free exam.”

Eliminating the fee may not be a major change for the state’s lower-income students. New York already has a reduced fee for AP exams. Students who qualify for the College Board fee reduction of $34 per test, the state will pay $43 per AP exam except for AP Seminar and AP Research Exams and $91 per AP Seminar Exam and AP Research Exam. The final fee for any AP exam for a fee-reduced student is $10, according to the state Education Department.

While fee reductions exist, they aren’t always easy to use. A school district’s Advanced Placement coordinator has to indicate the fee reduction status for each eligible students, and it has to be done by late April each year. Invoices are sent to schiools after tests are administered, and schools then have to send $10 to the College Board for each AP exam taken by fee-reduced students.

According to the College Board, more than 45% of New York students took AP exams in 2022, one of the highest rates in the nation. In 2022, 33 states and the District of Columbia provided financial support to students taking AP exams, including six that fully fund AP exams for all low-income students.

“This legislation will authorize the Department of Education to reimburse exam-related fees to school districts in the state,” Eachus and Chu wrote in their legislative justification. “By providing this reimbursement, students, and their parents, taking the AP exams are not burdened with the cost of one, or even multiple, exams – allowing all of our students to participate in the opportunity to earn college credit, as well as encourage more high school students to take AP classes, saving them time and money once they begin their college careers.”


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