Low-income Students Struggle With AP Exam Fee Waiver Cuts

Courtney Williams's picture
Monday, April 2, 2012

In December, Congress slashed funding for Advanced Placement fee waivers for low-income students, leaving them scrambling to find the cash or forgoing the exams.

Because of a federal budget cut, tens of thousands of low-income high school students will face steeper price tags for their Advanced Placement exams this May — forcing many to scramble to meet costs and others to forgo exams that could save thousands in college tuition.

At El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, where nearly two-thirds of would-be test-takers are from low-income families, anxiety over passing is being replaced by worries that students will not be able to afford the college-level exams they have studied for all school year.

Rocio Ramirez planned on taking six tests, which now ring up to $204. Gerardo Artega has begun chipping away at his $151 bill for five tests by saving and paying the school $10 a week. And Alexis Lemus, who planned to take four exams, will now take only three — reluctantly dropping the English literature exam he feels certain he could pass.

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