Last November, all Advanced Placement (AP) students with hopes to take an AP exam this May were prompted to pay a $40 registration fee. The College Board’s AP Program, which organizes and creates these nationwide exams, chose this school year to implement this policy change in over half of the high schools in the country that offer AP classes.
This deadline is more than four months earlier than the usual deadline required for the AP Exams held in May and has significantly higher late fees.
The policy change has caused nationwide uproar, with one Wisconsin high school counselor creating a petition against the College Board that now has over 120,000 signatures.
The College Board maintains that the purpose of changing the deadline for registration is to incite motivation for AP students around the country.
Junior Jesse Lindeman, who takes three AP classes, does not agree with the College Board. “It hasn’t had much effect on my motivation so far,” said Jesse. “It was just annoying to pay that early because I didn’t know how well I would do in the class.”
AP students and high school counselors around the country have reasoned that students should not have to register for the exam at such an early stage in the year, when confidence is wavering and students are unsure in their capacity to take the exam.
Freeman’s AP coordinator, Renee Ferrell has faith in the College Board’s research. However, she is not sure how students will fare throughout the year if their confidence changes.
“I worry that a student might not have the confidence in a class [to sign up for the exam] at the beginning of the year, but then come February, they will have that confidence and wish that they had signed up,” said Mrs. Ferrell
The College Board also added a $40 cancellation fee for those who change their mind after paying the non-refundable $40 deposit.
The College Board used a pilot program in the 2017-2018 school year with over 100 schools to test out the early deposit.
Total Registration, a provider of online exam registration and organization services for schools, held a survey for AP stakeholders about the pilot program. Nine out of ten AP stakeholders believed the changes were not beneficial and that the College Board made the changes for the purpose of making more money.
The College Board provides a fee reduction for students with free or reduced lunch. These qualifying students pay the same early registration fee, but receive a discount on the final payment of $94.
The new changes are unpopular at Freeman and although College Board claims to be a non-profit organization, AP students and teachers across the country seem skeptical.