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May 16, 2024

MCPS and The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future to cover AP exam fees for students

AP School Honor Roll is a College Board program which highlights schools in the United States and Canada that have achieved significant success in their AP programs.
@APforStudents
AP School Honor Roll is a College Board program which highlights schools in the United States and Canada that have achieved significant success in their AP programs.

MCPS and the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future will pay for students’ AP exam fees starting in the 2023-2024 school year, according to a community letter sent by AP Coordinator and Principal Intern Gregory Miller on September 8th. The new expectation is that students enrolled in an AP course during the school year must also take the corresponding exam, Miller wrote.

 The Maryland General Assembly passed The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future on February 10, 2021 to improve the quality of public education and expand student resources related to early childhood education, college and career readiness and high-quality educators. In addition to covering AP exam fees, the Blueprint aims to implement changes that fund dual enrollment costs and International Baccalaureate exam fee costs as well as provide a $10,000 bonus for all National Board-Certified teachers in the future, according to the MCPS FY 2024 Operating Budget

Junior Marion Lambert is grateful for Blueprint’s new initiative as it will save her family roughly 400 dollars in exam fees. 

“[The Blueprint] relieves financial stress for students and their families,” Lambert said. “By knowing that everything is going to be covered by schools, it allows people to focus on their education and take challenging courses and not think about the money side of it.”

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Last year, the College Board charged $98 per AP exam in the U.S., U.S. territories, Canada and Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) schools and charged $128 for students outside these zones. AP exam fees also tend to increase by $1-$2 each year regardless of whether a family qualifies for a fee reduction.

In 2022, Whitman had the highest percentage of graduates who took one or more AP exams compared to other high schools in the county. 

“I think that Whitman students, for the most part, are fortunate enough to be able to afford AP exams,” Lambert said. “But I know that a lot of other students in the county struggle to pay for regular school fees on top of exams, and it’s really discouraging for them.”

The Blueprint plans to implement additional funding by 2032 with a $3.8 billion budget. Because of the high price tag attached to the Blueprint, Former Governor Larry Hogan vetoed the legislation in 2020 but was overridden by Maryland lawmakers a year later.  

AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics teacher Kevin Oberdorfer supports the new initiative.

“I think it will enable more students to take the AP exams across the country where they can’t as easily afford AP exams as they might in this community,” Oberdorfer said. “I think equitable treatment is the right way to go.”

During the 2022-2023 school year, the Blueprint allocated $8,310 per student as part of the Per-Pupil Foundation Amount, which is a funding formula that calculates and distributes the Blueprint’s funding between schools and determines how to fund financial resources to students. This year, however, Maryland decreased funding for the Blueprint by $4.7 million from its initial funding of over $1 billion, according to the MCPS FY 2024 Operating Budget. 

AP Language and Composition teacher Matthew Bruneel thinks AP exam fees are reasonably priced but believes that the College Board takes advantage of students and their families. 

“It is unfair that structurally the thing that marks who is a competent and qualified student is buying into a business model that has pretty much a monopoly on the entire market,” Bruneel said. “I’m glad to hear that there’s just one less cost of admission involved with students trying to pursue their futures and aspirations.”





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About the Contributor
Nikhita Dass
Nikhita Dass, News Writer
Grade 11 Why did you join The B&W? I wanted to be able to share news on current events and issues with my community. What is your favorite board game? Monopoly

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    Denise SultenfussApr 16, 2024 at 3:30 pm

    Why doesn’t this grant cover homeschool students who take the AP exam or enroll in a dual enrollment program?

    Reply