Funding for 2017 AP Exams for Students Eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) strongly believes that all students should have equal access to the benefit of Advanced Placement (AP) coursework. While KRS 160.348(3) requires costs of the AP examinations to be “… paid by” the KDE, the General Assembly has not provided an appropriation to provide the funding for this statute. In the past, the KDE has worked diligently to secure federal grants, when available, to pay for the AP and International Baccalaureate (IB) exam fees for private and public school students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch (FRL). Unfortunately, the recently enacted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) removes the grant provision (AP Test Fee Program) providing dedicated federal Title I funds for this purpose. As a result, the remaining balance per exam has increased to $53. This gap in funding subsidies means that schools and districts would be responsible for paying $53 for each AP exam taken by students eligible for FRL starting with exams taken in 2017.
Knowing the federal
funding was not going to be available for the 2016-17 school year and in order
to avoid shifting these costs to districts, KDE was able to plan and budget
for these exam fees, and will pay the $53 fee for each AP exam taken by
students eligible for FRL during the 2016-17 school year. For
this to occur, your guidance counselors must determine which students meet
the FRL eligibility requirements and enroll those students in the fee reduction
program. I ask that you make this a priority to provide these students
with equal access to AP courses. Based on the number of AP exams each
school orders for eligible FRL students in January 2017, the balance will be
paid by the KDE in hope that schools will continue to provide Kentucky’s FRL
students with the opportunity to take rigorous AP courses that prepare them to
excel in their future college and career choices.
While future funding
related to AP exam fees for all public school students remains uncertain, the KDE
is determined to do all it can to assist those students most in need. In
addition to seeking state appropriations to appropriately fund KRS 160.348(3)
for future school years, we will continue to explore the use of federal Title I
set-aside funds as well as Title IV funds for this purpose and where allowable.
Guidance related to AP exam fees for future years will be issued
with the further release of ESSA funding guidance.
Here is a breakdown of
the 2016-17 AP Exam fee for students qualifying for free and reduced-price
A student is eligible for the AP Exam Fee Waiver if the student:
- qualifies for free or reduced lunch, AND
- was enrolled in the AP class for the 2016-2017 school year.