Reduced Fees Make AP Tests More Widely Accessible

Gustavo Damian Danemann Soto and Sevilla Tovar, Editors-in-Chief

   Select UC High students may qualify to pay almost 95 percent less for their Advance Placement (AP) exams this school year, paying 5 dollars rather than 97 dollars for each exam they sign up for.

According to UC High Counselor Shauna Van Bemmel, the AP test coordinator for the school, the first step in applying for the reduced price is for the student to be registered for the AP exam(s) they are looking to take. “All students sign up to take an AP exam through their MyAP account that they have on the College Board [Company that organizes AP test- taking] website,” she said.

According to the San Diego Unified School District AP website, parents can apply for reduced AP Test fees by entering Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) data in the PowerSchool Parent Portal. Once signed into PowerSchool, parents can find this short survey by clicking on the LCFF Data Collection icon near the bottom of the navigation menu (

   Van Bemmel said, “A student then qualifies for a fee waiver if the family income is a certain amount. If the student does qualify for a fee waiver, Rachel Amato (Advance Studies Resource Teacher), who oversees AP, sends the student an invoice with how much they owe for their AP exam(s).”

Finding further instructions requires a multi-step search: Upon googling “AP San Diego Unified,” one can access the San Diego Unified deeplink named “College Prep/Voluntary Tests,” at the bottom of which, there is a hyperlink for the “Advanced Studies website.” This then redirects a person to the District’s Google Site, in which one can click on the Advanced Placement button that redirects to the sub-site with the link to the district’s AP Exam website. There, an aqua blue box should appear at the top, where clicking on the Details Here icon will provide a PDF with all the instructions to turn in your LCFF Form (the survey must be submitted by October 30).

   Information on the subject is scarce, which Head Counselor Kelsey Bradshaw believes is because of the College Board being a for-profit company. She said, “It’s nice that they can offer [reduced cost exams], but I don’t know if they really want to advertise it. Especially since, over the last couple of years, we’ve changed how someone is qualified to receive this reduction.”

Before the LCFF form, one could get a 5 dollar test if they qualified for reduced lunch as well, according to Bradshaw. She stressed the importance of a lower AP exam fee: “I don’t think your family’s financial barriers should impact whether or not you get to take this test that you’ve essentially been studying for during ten months.”

   Van Bemmel shared that 792 AP exams were administered to UC High students last year and around 577 students are enrolled in AP courses this year.

Junior Hannah González Hernández, who has taken a handful of Advanced Placement classes, shared that she knows of people who took advantage of the 5 dollar exam option and were able to pass their tests in Spring. She said, “[Lower test costs] allow kids of all backgrounds to achieve academic success and challenge themselves with these courses.”

Parents struggling to sign into their PowerSchool portal can contact Parent Online Support at (619) 732-1400 or UC High Site Technician Fabi Dunker at [email protected].