BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Every high school in Mississippi wants more students to take Advanced Placement exams, but those tests can be expensive. A new grant announced Monday could remove financial barriers for many students who can't afford the fees.
AP Calculus is one of ten Advanced Placement classes offered at Biloxi High School. Biloxi High junior Paige Hooker is taking two classes this year.
"AP classes really help you in college because they're harder courses, a lot more work," said Paige.
But, when it comes to taking the AP exams, at $93 per test, the costs can add up.
"They get pretty costly and people want to take more but can't afford to pay for that many exams," said Biloxi High senior Madison Hansen.
In the past, the school has relied on grants and district funds to help cover some of the exam fees. On Monday, the state Department of Education announced it has received $189,781 in federal grants to help low-income students pay for most of the cost of the AP exams.
AP students who qualify for free or reduced lunch are eligible for the subsidized test fees. The grant covers all but $15 for each test.
"It's great!" exclaimed Madison. "I've received aid for paying for my AP exams and it's helped so much."
More than 230 students are currently enrolled in AP classes at Biloxi High. The principal believes subsidizing the test fees will encourage more students to take advantage of the tougher, college-level courses.
"We'll take any money we can get because we want all of our students to have these opportunities," said principal Marcus Boudreaux. "If it can defray the costs for students or the school district, it's wonderful news."
Students in the AP program can get extra points for a particular course, earn college credit based on their exam scores, and their participation and performance can help boost their school's accountability rating.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded a total of $28.4 million in AP grants to 41-states and Washington, D.C.