Education Department Supports Advanced Placement Courses for Low-Income Students with Award that Pays Test Fees

October 3, 2001

Thousands of students from low-income backgrounds will have access to Advanced Placement (AP) tests under grants to states announced today by U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige. Eighteen states, the District of Columbia and Guam applied for the AP Incentive Program grants and will share in $6.5 million to encourage students from low-income backgrounds to prepare for and take AP tests.

“College entrance exams reveal that young people who take challenging classes, such as Advanced Placement courses, perform better than their peers regardless of their family or financial background,” Paige said. “Taking the harder classes is one of the keys to academic success. These grants can help encourage students to challenge themselves and help our schools to close the achievement gap between students from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers.”

In order to be eligible for the grants, states were asked to describe:

  • the fees the state will pay with award funds and how many students are expected to benefit;

  • how low-income students will be identified and deemed eligible;
  • how the availability of test fee payments will be promoted through high school teachers and counselors; and,
  • how the effectiveness of the program will be measured within each state.

Factors that affect the amount states receive for the incentive grants include the number of eligible students and the intensity of outreach efforts, particularly in urban areas. In rural areas where such classes are not typically available, the grants may be used to offer online AP courses to students.

In addition to the benefits AP courses offer by strengthening high school achievement, most colleges and universities award college credit to students who pass advanced placement tests—saving tuition costs and allowing such students to be accepted more readily by the college of their choice.

The AP fee payment grants to states are authorized by the Higher Education Amendments of 1992, Title XV, Part G. Grant funds per state were made on the basis of Census Bureau counts of poor children ages 5-17 used under the Title I program for disadvantaged children.

Following is a list of states, contacts and grant amounts.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT INCENTIVE PROGRAM AWARDS

CALIFORNIA

Sacramento California Department of Education

Contact: Ron Fox, (916-323-6134) $800,000

DELAWARE

Dover Delaware Department of Education

Contact: Mercedes Ferrari, (302-739-4885) 276,750

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA District of Columbia Public Schools

Contact: Heather Sondel, (202-442-5648) 273,646

FLORIDA

Talahassee Main Florida Department of Education

Contact: Thomas Baird, (850-922-4678) 548,783

GUAM

Hagatna Guam Department of Education

Contact: Eloise Sanchez, (671-475-0444) 34,140

IOWA

Des Moines Iowa Department of Education

Contact: Roseanne Malik, (515-281-3199) 19,250

KENTUCKY

Frankfort Kentucky Department of Education

Contact: Nancy LaCount, (502-564-4772) 206,500

MASSACHUSSETS

Malden Massachusetts Department of Education

Contact: Richard Salus, (781-338-6252) 73,140

MARYLAND

Baltimore Maryland State Department of Education

Contact: Carolyn Cooper, (410-767-0336) 284,480

MISSISSIPPI

Jackson Mississippi Department of Education

Contact: Wendy Tucker, (601-359-2586) 276,617

NORTH CAROLINA

Raleigh North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

Contact: Wandra Polk, (919-807-3816) 306,144

NORTH DAKOTA

Bismarck North Dakota Department of Public Instruction

Contact: Anita Decker, (701-328-1718) 11,000

NEW JERSEY

Trenton New Jersey State Department of Education

Contact: Robert Higgins, (609-777-0800) 479,536

NEW YORK

Albany New York State Education Department

Contact: Mary Daley, (518-474-8773) 860,000

OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma City Okalahoma State Department of Education

Contact: Christy Ehlers, (405-521-4287) 483,640

PENNSYLVANIA

Harrisburg Pennsylvania Department of Education

Contact: Thomas Persing, (717-783-1330) 150,000

SOUTH DAKOTA

Pierre South Dakota Department of Education

Contact: Jim Hauck, (605-773-4712) 7,650

VERMONT

Montpelier Vermont Department of Education

Contact: Bud Meyers, (802-828-5101) 143,378

WEST VIRGINIA

Charleston West Virginia Department of Education

Contact: Donna Miller, (304-558-7880) 251,021

WISCONSIN

Madison Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Contact: Leonard Kavajecz, (715-682-2363) 998,854

TOTAL: $6,484,530