The College Board offers (in part because the government gives them money) fee waivers on the AP Tests. But apparently the scope of fee waivers is getting cut due to cuts in federal funding. While some states are picking up the tab (go federalism), others, like California, are not. Poor kids are feeling the pinch.
But we poor kids have always felt the pinch. Whether it’s skipping dances because you can’t afford to go, or running an intertube with five patches on it… life as a poor high school kid is rough. But I think this little vignette from the LA Times story really says it all:
But at schools like El Rancho that do not receive those state funds, low-income students must foot the entire bill.
In May, Rocio, a senior, plans on taking the English literature, physics, statistics and government AP exams. And although she’s not taking the AP courses in Spanish and French, she figured she’d take those tests as well, possibly receiving college credit and freeing up time next year for courses geared toward her goal of becoming a doctor.
The fees, however, have left her and her mother looking for ways to come up with the extra money.
“It is a lot of money, especially since it was unexpected,” she said. “But I talked with my mom and she said that we’ll find a way — she knows how important it is to me.”
You find the money for the important things, even if it means not going with your friends on a trip or not getting your drivers’ license.
But are the AP tests really that important? For my part, I think the tests themselves are a little overrated. The value of AP, I think, is in taking the classes which are (because of the tests, of course) actually taught to something like a real standard. But I suppose if you’re heading off to a big state school with impacted classes, avoiding having to take Freshman Composition could be the difference between graduating in 5 years or 6… which could be a substantial chunk of change.