The message ground into the school by former principal Mary Wilcynski, known throughout the school as Dr. W, remains strong in the culture of Kennedy High School.
With 26 advanced placement classes offered at Kennedy and 731 students enrolled in AP classes in the 2015-2016 school year, the AP national exams starting on May 2 this year are an inevitable reality for many Kennedy students.
However amongst preparations for the exam comes another reality; the physical cost of the exam. The 2016 AP national exams will cost $92 per exam for all but one exam, AP Seminar, which will cost a total of $139 to take.
Syndy Richey, Kennedy’s PACT coordinator, has been running the AP exam registration program for three years at Kennedy and has seen an increase in students requiring financial assistance for their exams.
“My first year we didn’t really have a whole lot of assistance other than free and reduced lunch kids. Last year I probably had 15-20 non free and reduced lunch kids that needed assistance,” Richey said, “I’m sure this year that number will be the same if not higher. Not only because of the price but because of the economy and the way the world is nowadays.”
The past few years, AP exams have increased in price; in 2014, exams were $89, in 2015 it was $91, and this year $92 per exam.
“I wish the college board would explain that,” Richey said, “They hadn’t had an increase before the last two increases in quite a while. As far as I know, there’s not any significant reason to increase the price.”
AP exam costs go mostly towards the scoring of AP exams, primarily for written sections, which require someone to grade them, as opposed to the electronically graded multiple choice sections.
Richey emphasizes that the cost of AP exams should not prevent students from taking the exam.
“We do not want money to be the reason kids don’t take exams. We have a separate program for free and reduced lunch kids, but if you’re not on the free and reduced lunch program we do [offer assistance]. If you have any issues with paying for tests, come talk to me,” Richey said, “We’ve done everything from paying for all the exams, students payed for some of the exams, or we’ve shared the costs.”
Typically students who are not on the free and reduced lunch program and receive financial assistance give any Gosch checks received during the AP Scholars assembly back to the school, in order to preserve the program that allows for financial assistance.
Below is a link to a list of colleges and the AP scores they accept for credits, available on the Advanced Placement section on the Kennedy Homepage.