Missouri receives grant for low-income students for advanced placement testing

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JEFFERSON CITY - The U.S. Education Department awarded 41 states and the District of Colombia with grants Tuesday to help students from low-income families take advanced placement tests. 

The state has been receiving the grant for 17 years and this will be the last year that it does, because the funds will be rolled into different education aid funds.

19.5 percent of students in the state of Missouri took AP exams last year. This is a five percent increase from 2011, but Missouri is ranked 48th out of all states for the number of students that take AP exams. 

Sarah Potter, the communications coordinator for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said that, along with having low-income students not being able to afford the test, the amount of students enrolled in dual-credit courses now outweighs the amount of AP exams being taken. 

"We would really like to see more students taking AP," Potter said. "The benefit to AP is a lot times they can take those credits all over the country, whereas, dual-enrollment may or may not be transferable." 

Potter said the state usually receives $200,000 a year. This year, the state will get $234,366 from the U.S. Education Department. The money not only goes to covering fees for AP exams, but is applied to International Baccalaureate (IB) exam fees as well. 

"If a student wants to take a higher level class in AP or IB and their low-income, they can qualify to get most of that exam paid for with these grants," Potter said. 

The principal of Jefferson City High School, Robert James, said the grant is something that could help low-income students realize that college is an option for them. 

There is an application process that schools must go through to receive this grant money for students. 

For more information about the grant click here.