ICCSD Announces New Fee Waiver for AP Tests

Students on free and reduced lunches may now register without paying a fee


LH Staff

Art by Estie Dillard.

Mariam Keita, Culture Editor

2018 has been a year full of changes for the Advanced Placement program. The College Board, the company which runs the AP program and all of its exams, announced last school year that it would be moving its registration window for AP testing up from March to November, as well as discontinuing its fee reimbursement for those students who change their mind about being assessed after registration.

After hearing concerns that these policy changes might disproportionately affect low-income enrollment in the Advanced Placement program, the Iowa City Community School District has made an effort to help alleviate the financial burden.

Diane Schumacher, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment in the ICCSD, relayed details on the district’s actions in an email correspondence with Little Hawk staff.

“Yesterday we communicated the following to our AP teachers, counselors and administrators:

AP Teachers,

In support of the Equal Opportunities Schools initiative to enroll more underrepresented students in our honors and AP courses, the district is committed to removing AP testing financial barriers for students who meet the requirements for free and reduced lunch.  

Students who meet the requirements for free and reduced lunch, are taking AP courses, and wish to take the AP exam for that course will now be eligible for a 100% waiver of all testing fees. The College Board will continue to provide a partial fee reduction, and the district will provide funding for the remaining test fee.  Eligible students and parents will be asked to sign a document stating that if the student does not take the exam, the student will be responsible to reimburse the district for the cost of the exam.

Students will work with their AP teacher(s) and counselor to ensure that they are appropriately signed up for the exam. Counselors will collect and maintain the signed documents, and will provide necessary information to the district office to access the district funding source.”

Mami Selemani ‘20 of West High is one student who will now qualify to take the AP exams free of cost.

“I’m currently taking two AP classes and that would be around $200– or $50 each [for me]  if I had gotten the previous fee reduction. Now that I don’t pay for that I have more money for stuff that comes up like bills for the house,” said Selemani. “Some people don’t have jobs and they have to ask their parents and that’s a burden on their parents, especially if they have more stuff to pay for. I remember when I asked my mom for that $50 last year, that was a lot of money for her to take out at once and there’s other things she has to pay for.”

Selemani believes that the actions taken by the ICCSD will have a positive impact on minority student enrollment.

“I think that AP participation for [low-income] minority students is going to go up because they don’t have to worry about paying for the test at the end. I feel like now that they don’t have to pay for that, it will encourage them to take the test.”