Education Department Makes It Easier for Low-Income Students to Take AP Tests

apIn 2015, nearly 2.5 million high school students took nearly 4.5 million Advanced Placement tests. While African American student participation in the AP program has increased in recent years, the overall percentage of AP students who are African Americans is about one half of what would be the case if racial parity were to prevail.

College admissions officers are impressed with the records of students who make the extra effort and take the grading risk in AP courses. Presented with a transcript that shows a student has faced up to these rigorous programs of study, admissions officers often confer a deserved advantage in the admissions process to students of all races who enroll in AP programs. Some, higher education institutions give college credit for students who successfully complete AP courses. But the number of colleges offering credit for high achieving students in AP courses has dwindled in recent years. Yet the advantages of AP courses in preparing students for college-level work cannot be overlooked.

The U.S. Department of Education recently issued grants totalling $28.4 million to 41 states and the District of Columbia so that low-income students in these states could take AP examinations.

james_cole_jrJames Cole Jr., general counsel at the U.S. Department of Education stated that “the cost of a test should never prevent students from taking their first step towards higher education through Advanced Placement courses. These grants are an important tool for states, and ultimately schools, to empower students from low-income neighborhoods to succeed in challenging courses.”

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