Students have to pay up for AP tests

Gustavo Rios, News Editor

Attention all AP students. If you want to take your exams in May, then you may want to start saving more than what’s in your piggy bank.

According to Assistant Principal Gerardo Arenas, Riverside Unified School District has been able to pay for all of the AP exams taken with funds from LCAP, the Local Control Accountability Program, for the past couple of years. Unfortunately, LCAP will no longer be able to fund the AP exams taken this school year.

In a letter addressed to the parents of the students, RUSD  states that the LCAP funding for AP testing had ended the past June. Because of this, the school district applied for and was awarded a three-year state grant called the College Readiness Block Grant (CRBG).

CRBG will allow RUSD to support AP classes with additional academic counseling services and expanded summer programs. The aforementioned letter states that CRBG will also pay for AP exams, but only for “unduplicated” students, those who qualify for free-reduced lunch, are currently designated as English Learners or are Foster Youth through fee waivers.

“It’s my understanding that LCAP was nice enough to pay for one or however many AP exams students would take.” said Arenas. “The fee waivers are only for those with free-reduced lunch. The only other option would be to save. I know it’s difficult.”

Taking just one exam costs $94. But most AP students here on campus are taking multiple AP classes this year, which means their total cost for exams could potentially be over a couple of hundred of dollars.

The total cost of these exams is the main issue for many. Would students without fee waivers and taking multiple exams be willing to pay for all of them? Not everyone would, or even could do so. Then, there’s also the problem of passing, such as what if a student pays for the $94 exam, only to fail? Because students now have to pay, there may be less incentive to take AP exams even if they allow students to gain college credit.

Arenas says it is unknown if additional funding will be able to pay for next year or the years to come for AP exams. So, for now, for those not in free-reduced lunch, the only option would to start saving up for the exams you’d be taking.