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Georgia passes on AP test, PSAT fees

Parents to pay cost of PSAT, AP exams

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

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Students take a quiz in Wade Caldwell's AP History class at Greenbrier High School. The exam fee for a student's first AP test was paid by the state until this school year. Columbia County school officials decided to pass that cost along to the parents.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Students take a quiz in Wade Caldwell's AP History class at Greenbrier High School. The exam fee for a student's first AP test was paid by the state until this school year. Columbia County school officials decided to pass that cost along to the parents.

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

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bettyboop 08/30/10 - 06:26 am
Got to love that "government

Got to love that "government school system"......................change you can believe in!

Mr. Thackeray
Mr. Thackeray 08/30/10 - 08:08 am
Someone PLEASE tell this

Someone PLEASE tell this HISTORY teacher his flag is hung backwards!!! How does a HISTORY teacher (AP at that) not know this?

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 08/30/10 - 08:55 am
Nobody thinks that flag

Nobody thinks that flag ettiquette is important anymore, I guess.

galaxygrl 08/30/10 - 11:40 am
My child took 8 AP's during

My child took 8 AP's during her high school years. I paid for 6 of them. What they don't tell you is depending on the college they attend thet can get little or no credit for these classes. I found the whole College Board system to be a rip off. The fees are ridculous and they are a monopoly. Also, if you want to get into a really good college, they want you to have a minimum of 5-6 AP classes.

Taylor B
Taylor B 08/30/10 - 11:41 am
Pay up front first, set a

Pay up front first, set a baseline minimum, and reimburse those that pass.

My employer will reimburse me for passing ASE certifications, but only if I pass.

Sounds like a fair compromise that will benefit those that study and will use the test for greater progression later in their academic careers.

Also sounds like common sense. Just a thought from your local candidate for school board...

Dudeness 08/30/10 - 03:33 pm
With so many kids getting

With so many kids getting free or reduced lunches these days and that being the milestone for "poor/needy", I don't see this having as much of an impact as I initially thought prior to reading the article.

corgimom 08/30/10 - 09:16 pm
Galaxygirl, tell that to

Galaxygirl, tell that to Countyman. He thinks AP classes are wonderful.

Taylor B, There is no "pass" to AP tests or PSAT tests, just as there is no "fail". You take the test. They are scored. AP test scores may result in credit being given at certain colleges, but even that differs from college to college. PSAT scores are used for National Merit Scholarships (and those are hard to get, they are based on scores + financial need.)

The parents that will scream the loudest are the ones that have no problem with buying the latest cell phone for their child, or $150 athletic shoes, or weaves, or acrylic nails, or the outrageously priced "in" clothes- but will claim "they can't afford to pay for the tests."

galaxygrl 08/31/10 - 12:39 am
Well, I don't fall into the

Well, I don't fall into the free or reduced group, but I didn't work for 3 months last year. My child was a National AP Scholar, which means she had to score 4 or above on 8 tests to receive this designation. Actually she got 5-5's and 3-4's. She was also recognized for being in the top 50,000 students for the National Merit Scholarship. They need to teach AP classes that will get you the most bang for your buck! Not just classes to be able to report scores about.
Corqimom, the deal in my household is if you score the grades, you get the rewards, just like in the real world. She just had to wait for some of the things she got.
I always think about the parents that don't know about all these things and how they benefit there children. I have talked to quite a few that have no idea.

secretagentman 09/01/10 - 03:39 pm
AP classes are GREAT for

AP classes are GREAT for preparing students for college-- THAT is why the prestigious colleges are demanding them for applicants.Yes, there is a "pass" grade- a 3, 4 or 5 is considered "passing" the AP test-- a 3 suppossedly indicates a student could make a C in the corresponding college course. A 1 or 2 recieves no credit at any university I can find. The schools regularly tell the students to check with the college they plan on attending to see if they accept AP credit and what level. It depends on the course sometimes-- For instance, at UGA, depending on the course, a 3 in AP lit or AP language will get you one college semester credit. If you make a 4 or 5 in one of those you can get up to 2 credits... some very talented students enter college with 20/30 "hours" credit because of AP classes. That is a whole year.The biggest problem is that now that the larger, more prestigious universities practically require them, we have way too many students taking Ap classes who dont have the ability. That being said, being in an AP class still challenges a student to become stronger, whether they pass the AP test at the end of the year or not. That being said, I do worry about making 16 year olds act like college students and the pressure that is put on these kids.

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