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Low-income students gets advantage with State’s target to cover AP exam costs

In an attempt to be better provider to low-income student, the state will choose the tab by taking Advanced Placement exams in technology, science, engineering and math subjects this year after the federal government ended providing dedicated funding.

Last week morning, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced at an Everett Chamber of Commerce Breakfast that the STEM Advisory Council will cover the costs of coming tests for low-income Massachusetts students, with an allocation of approximately $326,000.

“We know this was a great concern for many educators, students and their families, and we are very happy that the STEM Advisory Council agreed to help,” Polito, the advisory council’s co-chair, asserted in a statement.

There will be a one-time funding which could be used to pay AP exam fees in chemistry, physics, biology, computer science, environmental science, calculus, and is anticipated to cover the costs for all low-income students taking the tests across the state, according to the Baker administration. Without federal money, exams would otherwise cost low-income students USD53 each, or USD15 if their school subsidizes part of the cost.

Since 1998, the federal government had granted states with committed funding to offset the costs of AP exams for low-income students, according to the College Board, which allots the exams through which high school students can earn college credit.

The Every Student Succeeds Act ends that program in the start of this year, instead consolidating AP funding with 40 other educational programs into a new block grant.

“Having become aware of the threat that budgetary uncertainty at the federal level is currently posing for low-income students to take AP tests, we are very grateful for the STEM Advisory Council’s generous support,” Education Secretary James Peyser said in a statement. “I am hopeful that this funding will ensure that all eligible AP students will be extended an opportunity to take AP exams in STEM subjects.”

The fund will arrive from the STEM Pipeline Fund, an account within the Executive Office of Education that was funded at USD1.5 million this fiscal year.

The STEM Advisory Council consists representatives from the Legislature state agencies, and the private and public sector, and suggests the governor and Cabinet on issues related to STEM education and related careers. U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy and Vertex CEO Dr. Jeff Leiden also serve as co-chairs.

The fund’s aim is to “increase the number of students who participate in programs that support careers in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” according to state law.