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Advanced Placement Exam Fee Subsidy Program

The purpose of the U.S. Department of Education's Advanced Placement (AP) Exam Fee Subsidy Program* is to reduce the cost of Advanced Placement (AP) exams for students who meet the eligibility criteria.

The final appropriation for the AP Test Fee Program for Fiscal Year 2016 has been determined by Congress. The Massachusetts State Subsidy for AP exams taken by eligible students as determined by free and reduced lunch or the new state metric economically disadvantaged is set at $38 per exam.

As a result, the final AP Exam fee for subsidy eligible students would be $15 for each exam taken.

Breakdown of the AP Exam fee for eligible students in 2016:

Cost ComponentAmount Per Exam
Student or School/District Contribution$15
Massachusetts State Subsidy$38
College Board Fee Reduction$30
College Board Exam Rebate (Waived for Students from Low-Income families)$9
Total Exam Fee$92

Breakdown for the AP Research Exam and AP Seminar Exam for eligible students for 2016:

Cost ComponentAmount Per Exam
Student or School/District Contribution$15
Massachusetts State Subsidy$85
College Board Fee Reduction$30
College Board Exam Rebate (Waived for Students from Low-Income families)$9
Total Exam Fee$139

* The AP subsidy program includes subsidies for all exams taken by eligible students determined by free and reduced lunch and the new state matrix, economically disadvantaged for the College Board, IB Americas, and University of Cambridge International Examinations programs. Accordingly, SEAs may use AP Test Fee (APTF) Program funds to cover a portion of the cost of each approved Advanced Placement exam taken by low-income students in school year 2015-16 as follows:

  • up to $38 for each Advanced Placement (AP) test administered by the College Board;
  • up to $85 for each AP Seminar test administered by the College Board;
  • up to $85 for each AP Research test administered by the College Board;
  • up to $98 for each Diploma Programme test administered by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO);
  • up to $69.10 for each Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level test administered by Cambridge International Examinations;
  • up to $112.90 for each Advanced (A) Level test administered by Cambridge International Examinations;
  • up to $134.73 for each AS Level Global Perspectives test administered by Cambridge International Examinations; and
  • up to $226.50 for each A Level Global Perspectives test administered by Cambridge International Examinations.

Please note that the APTF program funds may not be used to pay the advanced placement test candidate registration fees on behalf of students from low-income families. Therefore, the candidate registration fees charged by the International Baccalaureate Organization and Cambridge International Examinations are not allowable costs under this program for FY 2016.

Fee Subsidy Eligibility:

Eligibility for an AP exam fee subsidy (or subsidies) for a student enrolled in a public, independent, or parochial high school can be determined using the following criteria:

  1. the student is enrolled in the advanced placement course for which he/she is taking the exam, and (B) or (C)
  2. the student is eligible for free or reduced priced school lunch under the National School Lunch Act (Primary Criteria),
  3. The student participates in one or more of the following state-administered programs:
    • the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    • the Transitional Assistance for Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC)
    • the Department of Children and Families' (DCF) foster care program
    • and MassHealth (Medicaid)

High schools must ensure that all information documenting student eligibility for the AP exam fee subsidy remain confidential and also maintain secure files with the documentation that students who are receiving AP exam fee subsidies have met the eligibility requirements. As a condition of this grant, the state program coordinator may conduct on-site reviews of the files for the purpose of documenting student eligibility.

Please take note of the following: (1) the statute authorizing federal AP Test Fee Program funding requires that the funds supplement, not supplant other non-Federal funds that are available to assist low-income individuals to pay for the cost of these exams; and, (2) the GEPA Statute, which highlights six types of barriers that can impede equitable access to a federal program or benefit, applies to the AP Test Fee Program. The six barriers are gender, race, national origin, color, disability or age. Although age is an unlikely barrier in this program, the other five barriers deserve attention. On the Profiles section of the Massachusetts DESE website, the AP participation (enrollment) and the AP performance data for every public high school has been posted. You will find this information helpful in determining whether the enrollment of AP or IB classes is a representative cross-section of the student population in the high school and in the district.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding Advanced Placement Exam Fee Subsidies, please contact Meto Raha at (781) 338-3548 or by e-mail at mraha@doe.mass.edu.

Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Income Eligibility Chart**
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Documentation cover sheet


Last Updated: April 19, 2016
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