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Federal grant will help low-income students take AP tests

A person filling in a standardized test bubble sheet with a pencil.
Flickr | Alberto G.

Students from low-income students in Missouri and Illinois will be getting money from Washington to help pay for taking Advanced Placement tests.

Under a program announced Tuesday by the federal Department of Education,  a total of $28.4 million will go to 41 states and the District of Columbia to help defray the costs of taking tests that can lead to students getting college credit for high school courses.

The subsidies are designed to urge all students to take such courses, letting them complete college more quickly and more cheaply.

“The cost of a test should never prevent students from taking their first step towards higher education through advanced placement courses,” department official James Cole Jr. said.

“These grants are an important tool for states, and ultimately schools, to empower students from low-income neighborhoods to succeed in challenging courses.”

Under the program, Missouri will receive $234,366 and Illinois will get $1,787,866. Projections show that the grants will cover all but $15 of the costs of each placement test taken by students, based on the number of tests expected to be taken. States could require students to pay part of the costs.

Early results indicate that from 2015 to 2016, the number of tests covered by the program increased to 862,204 from 831,913, an improvement of nearly 4 percent.

The grants may be used to pay for fees for tests from the College Board, the International Baccalaureate Organization and Cambridge International Examinations.

Follow Dale on Twitter: @dalesinger

Dale Singer began his career in professional journalism in 1969 by talking his way into a summer vacation replacement job at the now-defunct United Press International bureau in St. Louis; he later joined UPI full-time in 1972. Eight years later, he moved to the Post-Dispatch, where for the next 28-plus years he was a business reporter and editor, a Metro reporter specializing in education, assistant editor of the Editorial Page for 10 years and finally news editor of the newspaper's website. In September of 2008, he joined the staff of the Beacon, where he reported primarily on education. In addition to practicing journalism, Dale has been an adjunct professor at University College at Washington U. He and his wife live in west St. Louis County with their spoiled Bichon, Teddy. They have two adult daughters, who have followed them into the word business as a communications manager and a website editor, and three grandchildren. Dale reported for St. Louis Public Radio from 2013 to 2016.

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