The College Board provides a $31 fee reduction per exam for students with financial need. For each AP Exam taken with a fee reduction, the school forgoes its $9 rebate, resulting in a cost of $53 per exam.
Transition to Every Student Succeeds Act
In 2016, under the historic AP Test Fee Program, participating states contributed $38 in federal funding toward each AP Exam taken by a low-income student, reducing the typical AP Exam fee paid by their low-income students to just $15. Some states supplemented the federal funding with their own state funding to further reduce the AP Exam fee for low-income students.
Beginning with the 2017 AP Exam administration, states will no longer be able to secure funding for low-income students’ AP Exams through the federal AP Test Fee Program. Under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the historic Federal program was eliminated. ESSA consolidated approx. 49 programs, including the AP Test Fee Program, into a new Title IV “block grant.”
This year, states and districts MUST ACT to ensure funds remain available for their low-income students. If your school has previously received funding through the AP Test Fee program, talk to your principal and/or administration to ensure that a plan is in place to obtain funding with ESSA. Visit collegeboard.org/ap-essa for more information.
For those states that continue to provide funding for low-income students’ AP Exams, state-specific fee reduction information will be posted in the spring.
Eligibility criteria for AP Exam Fee Reductions
The College Board has different eligibility criteria for AP Exam fee reductions, depending on whether a school or district participates in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). The Community Eligibility Provision is a program for schools and districts with high percentages of low-income children to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students.
Primary Criteria for Schools/Districts NOT Participating in Community Eligibility
For schools and districts that do not participate in the Community Eligibility Provision, enrollment in or eligibility to participate in the Federal Free or Reduced-Price Lunch Program can still be used as a proxy to determine eligibility for AP Exam reductions. For these schools/districts, the following criteria must be used:
Students who are either enrolled or eligible to participate in the Federal Free or Reduced-Price Lunch Program qualify for the AP Exam fee reduction on all AP Exams that they take in a given year. Students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches if:
- their family’s income is at or below 185 percent of the poverty level issued annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
- the students are directly certified without application for free school meals because they are:
- in foster care or Head Start, or
- homeless or migrant, or
- living in households that receive SNAP/Food Stamps, TANF cash assistance, or the Food Distribution on Indian Reservations benefits
Primary Criteria for Schools/Districts Participating in Community Eligibility
Students are eligible for the AP Exam fee reduction on all AP Exams that they take in a given year if:
- their family’s income is at or below 185 percent of the poverty level issued annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or
- they qualify as an “identified student” because they are:
- in foster care or Head Start, or
- homeless or migrant, or
- living in households that receive SNAP/Food Stamps, TANF cash assistance, or the Food Distribution on Indian Reservations benefits.
Alternative Criteria for All Schools/Districts (Those Participating in Community Eligibility and Those Not)
If your school would prefer to use another method for determining which students qualify for AP Exam fee reductions, any of the following criteria are allowed:
- The student is enrolled in a federal, state, or local program that aids students from low-income families (e.g., Federal TRIO programs such as Upward Bound).
- The student’s family receives public assistance.
- The student lives in a federally subsidized public housing or a foster home, or is homeless.
- The student is a ward of the state or an orphan.
The following table lists annual family incomes by family size, at 185 percent of the poverty level. If the AP student’s family’s income did not exceed the amount listed in the appropriate row and column, he or she qualifies for an AP Exam fee reduction.
|Size of Family Unit||Annual Family Income*||Annual Family Income*
|Annual Family Income*
|Each add’l family member add:||$7,696||$9,620||$8,843|
* The figures shown under family income represent amounts equal to 185 percent of the 2016-17 federal income poverty guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These levels were published in the Federal Register, Vol. 81, No. 81, 3/23/16, p. 15503.
AP coordinators must complete three important tasks for their schools to be appropriately credited for available fee reductions:
Step 1: Indicate Fee Reduction Totals Before Ordering
Coordinators must indicate before ordering how many AP Exams will qualify for the fee reductions for low-income students. An optional online roster/calculator is available in the AP Exam Ordering website to help you determine the total number of qualifying students and exams. If you already have this information you do not need to use the online roster/calculator and can simply enter the total number of qualifying students and exams. Schools will be able to revise their totals as needed prior to generating their invoices, but should make every effort to provide accurate totals before ordering.
Step 2: Fill in the Fee Reduction Circle on Answer Sheets
The fee reduction circle must be filled in for all students who qualify for a College Board, federal, and/or state fee reduction. Coordinators must indicate which students are eligible for fee reductions by filling in the appropriate circle on the student’s registration answer sheet. AP coordinators should not bubble in all other answer sheets for those students taking multiple exams.
There are two fee reduction circles on the answer sheet, in the “School Use Only” section. Only one circle should be filled in for each student eligible for funding.
- Option 1: Low-Income Students (who meet low-income family guidelines for College Board, federal, and state fee reductions).
- Option 2: Non-Low-Income Eligible Students (who are eligible for subsidies based on state criteria other than the AP fee reduction policy).
Fee reduction options are captured separately for exams that don’t require answer sheets:
- Schools administering AP Studio Art Exams: Coordinators can designate a student’s fee reduction for AP Studio Art using the AP Studio Art Digital Submission Web application. For more information, visit the online demo or the Web application help text for details.
- Schools administering AP Chinese or Japanese Exams: Coordinators must use the Fee Reduction/Section Designation Form to indicate students eligible for fee reductions.
Step 3: Generate, Submit and Return Your Invoice
All schools must generate and submit an invoice online, print a hard copy, and mail the completed invoice to the AP Program in the envelope provided with their exam shipments by June 15, 2017. You will need to indicate the total number of exams with fee reductions again when generating your invoice. Schools generating their invoices after June 15 will have a $225 late fee automatically added to their invoices.