Georgia passes on AP test, PSAT fees

Parents to pay cost of PSAT, AP exams

 

Most parents accept the expenses that come with sending their children back to school -- new clothes, school supplies and bookbags.

However, many are unaccustomed to paying for their students to take tests.

This year, parents should be prepared to dole out extra bucks for some exams.

As a cost-saving measure, the state Department of Education no longer will pay for high school sophomores to take the PSAT, nor will it pay for some students to take advanced placement exams.

Columbia County school officials had considered absorbing the potential $22,000 price tag for PSAT exams but decided to pass it on to parents because it isn't a required test.

The Richmond County school system also won't be paying the $13 per test for its students to take the PSAT.

"We're in the same boat that probably most counties are in," Richmond County school board spokesman Lou Svehla said of the preparatory exam for the SAT.

By slashing funding for PSAT exams, state DOE spokesman Matt Cardoza said, his office will save more than $1 million.

By eliminating funding for AP exams for all but the state's poor students the state is saving considerably more. Students passing exams in AP classes can earn college credits.

As an incentive for students to take AP courses, the DOE had paid for a student's first AP exam, which costs $79 at full price, Cardoza said in an e-mail. This year, the state will pay only the $57 reduced fee awarded to "qualified" students -- those who receive free or reduced-price lunches, said Columbia County school system Assistant Superintendent Jeff Carney.

By paying only for needy students, the state will save more than $4 million, Cardoza said.

Though Columbia County won't be chipping in to help students recover that cost, Richmond County might.

Once the system can gauge how many of its students will take AP exams, Svehla said, officials will determine how far its funding for the exams can go.

Because students receive college credit for passing AP exams, Carney said, it would behoove many parents to pony up the cash for the tests even if the local and state school boards don't.

"As a parent, I don't mind paying it," he said. "My son took an AP exam last year, and he's going to take one this year. I don't care if it was a hundred dollars. If he scores well enough, that's cheap college credit."

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

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