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How Do I Get an AP Fee Reduction?
AP Exams are a great way to earn college credit and bolster your college applications. The College Board uses them to assess how well a student performed in their AP Class. But how much do AP Tests cost? Unfortunately, they can be a bit pricey. In the 2021-2022 school year, AP Exams cost $96 each.
This price could inhibit some students from taking the exam. Luckily, the College Board offers opportunities to take AP Tests for a reduced price. You can qualify for up to $43 off each test, putting your total cost at $53. Here’s a quick rundown of AP classes and how to apply for a fee reduction:
Related: How to get a college application fee waiver
What are AP Tests?
The College Board offers AP Tests to assess a students’ capability in a specific subject. Typically, the test is a culmination of an AP Course. It tests a students’ overall understanding of the material throughout the semester. Students can use these test results to get college credit and make their college application more impressive to admissions officers.
Also see: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool
Who qualifies for an AP Fee Reduction?
There are a few different ways a student can qualify for an AP Fee Reduction. Per the College Board website, if a student meets any of the following criteria, they automatically qualify if they meet any of the following criteria:
- They are enrolled in a federal, state, or local program that aids students from low-income families (e.g., Federal TRIO programs such as Upward Bound).
- The student’s family receives public assistance.
- They live in federally subsidized public housing or a foster home or are homeless.
- The student is a ward of the state or an orphan.
- The student or their family is participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).
- They receive free meals at their high school, and don’t attend a school where every student receives free meals by default.
Additionally, if a student falls below the following income limits, they will qualify for a fee reduction:
|Size of Family Unit||Annual Family Income* for 48 Contiguous States, Washington, D.C., Guam, and U.S. Territories||Annual Family Income* for Alaska||Annual Family Income* for Hawaii|
|For each additional family member, add:||$8,399||$10,508||$9,657|
Who do I contact for my AP Fee Reduction?
To secure your AP Fee Reduction, contact your school’s AP Coordinator. This is the person who serves as a liaison between your school and The College Board. If you’re not sure who your AP Coordinator is, you can ask your AP teacher or your guidance counselor. Typically, AP Coordinator is not a full-time position, and will only be one of the duties of the employee.
Also see: What happens if I fail an AP Exam?
Deadline for AP Fee Reduction applications
Each school must submit their AP Exam orders to the College Board by November 15 of each year. Some schools may require that you submit your request for an AP Exam to them before this date. When they place their order, your school will indicate which students are requesting an AP Fee Reduction.
Each school has until April 30 to submit the materials proving each fee reduction applicant’s eligibility. Some schools might require that you submit your eligibility materials before this date. Make sure to check with your guidance counselor and AP Coordinator to ensure you meet school deadlines.
Related: How many AP Classes should I take in high school?
AP late fees
Requests for AP Tests placed between November 16 and March 15 will incur a late fee of $40. Additionally, they may make you ineligible for the AP Fee Reduction. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, you should check in with your AP Coordinator well before the deadline.
Also see: What is the AP Scholar award?
What happens if I don’t make it to my AP Test?
If you sign up and pay for an exam but don’t end up taking it, you will receive a refund of your exam fee, minus a $40 late fee. So, if you paid a $53 reduced fee, you’ll only get a $13 refund.
Can I take an AP Exam if I didn’t take the AP Class?
Yes, you can! This is called AP self-studying and it’s a great way to earn college credit in high school, even if your school doesn’t offer AP Classes. Some students may choose to study over the summer. However, you should keep in mind that these exams are only offered at the end of the school year, so you’ll want to keep the information fresh in your mind throughout the year.
Related: Why should I earn college credit in high school?
Benefits of taking AP Exams
Although the cost may seem steep, AP Exams have several benefits that make them worth the price. The first is the potential to earn college credit. If you earn enough college credit, you could end up graduating early, which would end up saving you much more money than you spent on your exams.
The second is to help your admissions prospects. AP Exams look impressive on a college application, and they might even help tip the scales towards an institutional merit scholarship. This would be another scenario where your AP Exam pays itself back, and then some. If you feel confident that you can score well on an AP Exam, it’s worth trying to put together the money to take it. You may end up saving a lot in the long run and helping your admissions chances.
Good luck, and happy studying!
Also see: How to pay for AP Exams