STEM Advisory Council will spend $326,000 to help low-income students afford the tests
BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration announced it will cover the costs of upcoming advanced placement exams in STEM subjects for low-income students, after the federal government recently eliminated specific funding for the exams.
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, who co-chairs the STEM Advisory Council, made the announcement at the Everett Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. The STEM Advisory Council Executive Committee endorsed the Administration’s decision to allocate approximately $326,000 this year, from the STEM Pipeline fund, to cover the costs of AP exams in biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, calculus, environment science, and statistics.
“Massachusetts has one of the fastest growing innovation economies in the nation, and it is important we continue to develop a strong pipeline of skilled workers to fill critical job openings in STEM fields,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “The Administration’s ability to help provide this impromptu support will ensure low-income students who are challenging themselves with advance placement courses are given the opportunity to earn college credit for their hard work.”
“With the AP exams approaching soon, I am pleased to announce that we are able to cover the cost of these exams for STEM subjects to support advanced placement testing and bolster more opportunities for student success,” Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said. “We know this was a great concern for many educators, students and their families, and we are very happy that the Administration and the STEM Advisory Council can help.”
The federal Every Student Succeeds Act eliminated specific funding for the cost of AP exams for low-income students, and included it in the Title IV block grant – causing concern for school superintendents and mayors.
Without federal funding, school districts would be forced to either pick up the cost of the exams for low-income students, $38 per exam with the students paying $15, or the costs would fall entirely to the students themselves at $53 per exam.
Westfield Public Schools Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski said this will restore funding that has been cut. He said WPS also has mechanisms to help low-income students.
“We will take advantage of this opportunity as I’m sure all of the other districts will,” Czaporowski said.
Members of the STEM Advisory Council expect this one-time support will provide a bridge for districts to cover costs during the FY17-18 school year, and later school officials will be in a better position to predict federal aid levels and appropriately plan for continuing access to AP exams for low-income students. The deadline to register for advanced placement tests is April 7.
This level of funding is expected to cover costs for all exams in STEM subjects for low-income students statewide.