U.S. Education Department Awards 41 States and the District of Columbia $28.4 Million in Grants to Help Students From Low-Income Families Take Advanced Placement Tests

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U.S. Education Department Awards 41 States and the District of Columbia $28.4 Million in Grants to Help Students From Low-Income Families Take Advanced Placement Tests

September 20, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that it has awarded $28.4 million in Advanced Placement (AP) grants to 41 states and Washington, D.C. as part of its efforts to boost college- and career-readiness for historically underserved students. The grants will help defray the costs of taking advanced placement tests for students from low-income families.

"The cost of a test should never prevent students from taking their first step towards higher education through advanced placement courses," said James Cole Jr., general counsel delegated the duties of deputy secretary. "These grants are an important tool for states, and ultimately schools, to empower students from low-income neighborhoods to succeed in challenging courses."

The grants are used to help pay for students from low-income families taking approved advanced placement tests administered by the College Board, the International Baccalaureate Organization and Cambridge International Examinations. By subsidizing test fees, the program encourages all students to take advanced placement tests and obtain college credit for high school courses, reducing the time and cost required to complete a postsecondary degree.

Levels of funding per state were determined on the basis of state estimates of the numbers of tests that would be taken by students from low-income families. From 2015 to 2016, preliminary results show that the number of tests covered by the program increased from 831,913 to 862,204, an improvement of nearly 4 percent.

Based on the anticipated number of tests to be taken, the grants under the Advanced Placement Test Fee Program are expected to be sufficient to pay all but $15 of the cost of each advanced placement test taken by low-income students. States may opt to require students to pay a portion of the costs.

Challenges in course access are the reason why the Administration has progressively increased its focus on expanding access to computer science (CS). That is why the College Board, with National Science Foundation support, began developing a new AP Computer Science Principles course (AP CSP), designed with the goal to recruit and retain students who are typically underrepresented in CS fields. That course is rolling out nationally this month, with more than 2,000 classrooms already signed up, reaching an estimated 25,000 high school students in this academic year and putting AP CSP on track to be largest course launch in AP history.

The Obama Administration's commitment to equity in education underlies nearly every significant activity of the Education Department—from programs focused on early learning to college affordability and tools for reducing student debt. Expanding students' access to and successful completion of rigorous courses was also an initial recommendation of the President's My Brother's Keeper Task Force. By expanding access to college-level courses, more students from low-income families are able to graduate high school with the tools they need to excel in college and beyond.

The Department recently invited eight selected partnerships between institutions of higher education and non-traditional providers to participate in the EQUIP (Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships) experiment. The partnerships will allow students—particularly from low-income families—to access federal student aid for the first time to enroll in programs offered by non-traditional training providers, in partnership with colleges and universities, including coding boot camps, online courses, and employer organizations.

The Advanced Placement Test Fee program is administered by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Including the grants announced today, the Obama Administration has awarded more than $190 million to states through this program. For additional information on the program and these new awards, click here.

FY2016 Awards Advanced Placement Test Fee Program

State Grantee Total Award
AK State of Alaska Department of Education & Early Development $3,387
AL Alabama State Department of Education $34,745
AR Arkansas Department of Education $30,718
AZ Arizona Department of Education $648,088
CA California Department of Education $11,043,703
CO Colorado Department of Education $400,447
CT State of Connecticut Department of Education $274,272
DC District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education $88,204
DE Delaware Department of Education $50,719
HI Hawaii State Department of Education $87,589
IA Iowa Department of Education $112,282
ID Idaho State Department of Education $42,941
IL Illinois State Board of Education $1,787,866
IN Indiana Department of Education $250,688
KS Kansas State Department of Education $150,263
KY Kentucky Department of Education $461,915
LA Louisiana Department of Education $236,208
MA Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education $808,991
MD Maryland State Department of Education $536,857
ME State of Maine, Department of Education $67,184
MI Michigan Department of Education $559,660
MO Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education $234,366
MS Mississippi Department of Education $189,781
MT Montana Office of Public Instruction $4,955
NE Nebraska Department of Education $42,138
NH New Hampshire Department of Education $16,778
NJ New Jersey Department of Education $586,167
NM New Mexico Public Education Department $151,207
NV Nevada Department of Education $415,783
NY New York State Education Department $2,666,444
OH Ohio Department of Education $387,737
OK Oklahoma State Department of Education $315,375
OR Oregon Department of Education $218,809
PA Pennsylvania Department of Education $750,963
RI Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education $60,442
SD South Dakota Department of Education $14,453
TN Tennessee Department of Education $362,985
TX Texas Education Agency $3,472,350
VA Virginia Department of Education $248,459
VT Vermont Agency of Education $17,019
WA Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction $541,573
WV West Virginia Department of Education $55,489
  Total $28,430,000