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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 2022-2023 school year, AP Exams cost $97 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 $35 off each test (schools are expected to forgo their $9 rebate for students) 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 testing to evaluate students’ overall understanding of the AP class material they were taught 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 will automatically qualify if:

  • 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 UnitAnnual Family Income* for 48 Contiguous States, Washington, D.C., Guam, and U.S. TerritoriesAnnual Family Income* for AlaskaAnnual Family Income* for Hawaii
For each additional family member, add:$8,732$10,915$10,046

Related: How to pay for AP Exams

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!

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • If your family income meets the College Board’s requirements, you can qualify for an AP Fee Reduction
  • These reductions knock $42 off each test, meaning you’ll end up paying $53 total
  • If you qualify for a reduction, be sure to check in with the AP representative at your school as soon as possible
  • All supporting materials for fee reductions must be submitted before April 30, but many schools have even earlier deadlines
Key Takeaways

Frequently asked questions about how to get an AP fee reduction

How are AP tests scored?

AP tests generally consist of two parts. One part is made up of multiple choice questions and the other part is made up of free response questions. The multiple choice section is graded by a machine, while your free response questions are graded by a real person. You will receive a score from each of these parts which will be combined to provide you with a score on a 1-5 scale. Scores on the 1-5 scale do not have exact correlations to percentages or letter grades. A single number simply gives you and your college a general idea of how you did. 

What is a good AP test score?

That depends on what school you plan to attend. Some colleges  grant credit for a score of 3 or above. However, some other colleges, such as Ivy league schools, grant credit for scores of 5 only. Since there is no rule that says what scores colleges must grant credit for, it is up to each individual college.

Do I have to share my AP test scores with colleges?

No, you do not have to share AP test scores with a college if you do not want to. If you end up scoring poorly on an exam, don’t worry about a college seeing that and counting it against you. Also keep in mind that a low score on an AP exam will not impact your grade in that same AP course. So, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you do poorly on an exam, the only consequence will be the money you spent on the exam itself.