News Brief: Funding will cover STEM-related AP exams

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By Saturday, Apr 1 Learning

Baker-Polito administration announces funding to cover AP exam costs in STEM-related subjects

Boston — The Baker-Polito administration announced Thursday that it will cover the costs of upcoming advanced placement exams in STEM subjects for low-income students, after the federal government recently eliminated specific funding for the exams.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who co-chairs the STEM Advisory Council, made the announcement at a meeting of the Everett Chamber of Commerce. The STEM Advisory Council executive committee endorsed the administration’s decision to allocate approximately $326,000 this year from the STEM Pipeline Fund to cover the costs of AP exams in biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, calculus, environmental science and statistics.

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act eliminated specific funding for the cost of AP exams for low-income students and included it in the Title IV block grant, causing concern for school superintendents and mayors. Without federal funding, school districts would be forced to either pick up the cost of the exams for low-income students, $38 per exam with the students paying $15, or the costs would fall entirely to the students themselves at $53 per exam.

This level of funding is expected to cover costs for all exams in STEM subjects for low-income students statewide. Members of the STEM Advisory Council expect this one-time support will provide a bridge for districts to cover costs during the FY17-18 school year, and later school officials will be in a better position to predict federal aid levels and appropriately plan for continuing access to AP exams for low-income students. The deadline to register for advanced placement tests is Friday, April 7.

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