Fee Waivers for PSAT, SAT, and AP Course Exams

I have had a couple of emails from parents upset about the course exam fees for AP classes this year. There is a fee waiver program for these courses but you have to start now to qualify.

The fee waiver is based on the federal standards for free or reduced school lunches. By high school many parents no longer complete the free lunch application because students are embarrassed to use the program. However it is the ONLY way to get the fee waiver through the school district.


The lists of students whom qualify for free and reduced lunch should be kept confidential at your student’s school.

Information about test fee waivers here

SAT Test Fee Waivers Brochure – This service open ONLY to Seniors

SAT Fee Waiver Guide for Counselors 

For the SAT test I recommend to parents to get your fee waiver handled in advance through the online fee waiver service  without depending on a school counselor to get it done. Your student will be given their own waiver ID number to use to register for testing and ensure their paperwork is handled.

PSAT Test Fee Waiver – This service is open ONLY to Juniors and above

AP Exams

This area has the most confusion. You may have read the Las Vegas Sun Article about students who may not receive credit for their AP tests due to a cut in funding for the program. Imagine the frustration if your college bound student did their best to pass this test only to learn over the summer it was not paid for so they may not receive credit toward college. This is a double whammy to our students. Either pay for the test  $57 ($83 minus $26 waiver from college board ) and study again which many of these students may no longer have the materials. OR sadly many of these students will end up having to repeat the course at the college they enroll in which can cost anywhere from $200 on up.

The information below is from the College Board website: 

Funding Restored for Low-Income Students’ Exam Fees

Additional Federal funding has just been announced for qualifying low-income students’ 2012 AP Exam fees. These funds allow most participating states to fully subsidize all exams taken by eligible students. Some states that previously required students to pay a nominal fee per exam may continue to do so – this is a state-specific decision. Please encourage students who opted out of taking the AP Exams due to loss of funding to reconsider taking exams in May.

The issue is that Nevada has not indicated “IF” and “WHEN” the State will announce plans to pay for the test for students.

Visit Federal and State Exam Fee Assistance for more information.

Fee reductions for AP Exams

The College Board provides a $26 fee reduction per exam for students with financial need. For each exam taken with a fee reduction, the school forgoes its $8 rebate, resulting in a cost of $53 per exam for the student.

The U.S. Department of Education has notified states that they now have additional funds to cover the costs of 2012 AP Exams for eligible low-income students. For most states that receive federal funding, when combined with the increased College Board subsidy, these funds will make all AP Exams free for low-income students in May 2012. For these states, the funding breakdown is as follows:

  • The federal contribution will be $53 per exam.
  • The College Board contribution will be $26 per exam.
  • Schools waive the $8 per exam fee they collect for their own uses.
  • Accordingly, the $87 per exam fee is reduced to $0 per exam for low-income students, and there will not be a limit on the number of exams funded per student (i.e., the three-exam cap announced by the federal government earlier this year has been removed).

Click here to Read the Nevada Guidelines.  Pending funding it says. 

Students who are either enrolled or eligible to participate in the Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch Program qualify for the $26 College Board fee reduction on all AP Exams that they take in a given year.

Author’s personal commentary: 

This is one of those issues that we need to as a community give a hand up to our students from families that struggle financially. When a student works hard gets through that AP class and passes their exam we need our state to fall in line with the rest of the country and come through with the rest of the funds for a fee waiver. The end result will affect us all because our schools in the end will produce fewer graduates. Write to your local candidate for legislature and find out where they stand on the issue. 

Free and Reduced Lunch Guidelines for 2012

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