AP Testing Prices Are Too High

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Capri Zelaya

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With prices rising each year, it can be fair to say that AP testing prices have become ridiculously high, even by the standards of wealthier students on campus.


At $95 this year, a significant increase from previous years, students taking multiple AP exams were shocked, wondering how they were supposed to come up with so much money for a test they are not even guaranteed to pass.


Personally, with divorced parents, it always is a huge struggle to figure out how to come up with a large sum of money when both of my parents are supposed to help pay for things equally. Taking both AP English literature and AP environmental science this year, I somehow had to convince my parents to each give me $95, which of course ensued in argument: “I’m not giving you money unless your dad helps pay too,” or “I’ll give you money once your mom has given you money”–a never ending Catch-22.


I know I am not the only student who has to undergo the process of mustering up the funds to pay for these exams. This is an issue for almost all AP students, especially those who are economically disadvantaged and sometimes have to forego taking exams altogether as a result. I think that it is absurd that students should have to either miss out on a chance for college credit or place major strains on their economic situation due to the high price of the test. While it is possible to obtain a fee reduction from the College Board, the waiver only lowers the price to $55, which will still add up to over $200 for four or more exams.


When I take a step back to look at the situation, I can not find any reasoning behind why an AP test costs so much money, and I only took two. There are students I know of taking 5, even 6 APs, the grand total being $570 for 6 packets of paper. Yes, there are labor costs to pay the exam graders that must be taken into account, but when over 2 million students are taking the exam per year, most of whom are paying full-price, I cannot fathom why there would not be a significant profit leftover.


There is definitely something wrong with this logic, students and their families should not have to dish out more than half a thousand dollars on some occasions just because they want to potentially receive college credit, because even if you pay that money there is no refund if you do not pass.


Reform must be done within the College Board system, and I believe that greater discounts for students taking multiple AP tests is an absolutely necessary option, especially for those who are financially disadvantaged. If not, it is our peers and those to follow who will suffer as a result.


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4 Responses to “AP Testing Prices Are Too High”

  1. llobdell on May 6th, 2014 8:29 pm

    I agree that the prices of AP testing are ridiculous. It is completely unfair to those who have put in the all the hard work, but cannot afford to pay for AP testing.

  2. Junior from M-A on May 6th, 2014 9:17 pm

    AP tests don’t cost much when you compare them with the college classes they’re supposed to replace. If you take 10, 11, 12, or more AP classes (something that many at M-A have done), you’ll easily get enough credits to graduate early and save tens of thousands of dollars in college tuition (that’s if the college you’re going to accepts AP credits).

    Plus, the AP exam fee pays for a costly exam materials and grading, like…
    -2 thin paper booklets
    -1 scantron
    -a grader who will read your essay for up to 60 seconds.

  3. czelaya on May 7th, 2014 9:30 pm

    @Junior from M-A, that is a very valid point that I have thought about previously, but people are able to receive loans/ scholarships for college, and pay in installments, but there are no discounts or substantial financial help for AP tests. The fee has to be paid in full at one time period, that is where the problem arises for a lot of families.

  4. dbalestra on May 12th, 2014 6:19 pm

    Yes AP Classes are rigorous, but one can not simply equate them to college courses; they are just entirely different.

AP Testing Prices Are Too High