Claysburg-Kimmel School District pays for Internet access, books and instruction for the few high school students of the district enrolled in Advanced Placement courses that can earn them college credit, helping them stand out in college admissions process.
Students, however, must pay an $87 fee for a College Board test that allows them to enroll in those courses, and that fee isn't covered by the district. For half of Claysburg-Kimmel students who are economically disadvantaged according to state standards, paying that fee could pose a problem.
"The number [of students in AP courses] varies each year. Sometimes there are no students in AP courses," Superintendent Royce Boyd said.
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded more than $21.5 million in grants to 43 states to cover fees charged to low-income students for taking AP tests. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has received $487,964.
Any state money available to pay for test costs could result in more eligible students choosing to enroll in AP courses, Boyd said.
"I'm sure it will help. There might be more students interested," Boyd said.
For years, the state has reimbursed a portion of low-income students' AP test fees, but the federal money received in August will allow low-income students to take AP exams free of charge, Education spokesman Tim Eller said.
There are about 8,400 low-income students in Blair County's seven school districts, according to data collected by the state
But not every low-income child is eligible to take AP courses. Students must meet educationally-related criteria because AP courses offer college-level material.
Taking AP courses is an advantage to any college-bound student, Boyd said.
"They are in their comfort zone because they are in high school taking more challenging courses instead of everything being new in college."
Mirror Staff Writer Russ O'Reilly is at 946-7435.