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The U.S. Department of Education awarded $28.4 million in Advanced Placement grants to 41 states and Washington, D.C.

Many students from low-income families take college-level courses in high school but are unable to pay for final exams, which they’re required to pass in order to receive college credit. This needs-based award defrays the cost of the exams.

In a conference call with reporters, the department said this is part of the Obama administration’s efforts to boost college and career-readiness for underserved students.

“The cost of a test should never prevent students from taking their first step towards higher education through advanced placement courses,” said James Cole Jr., the department’s general counsel, delegated the duties of deputy secretary.

Subsidizing test fees encourages the students to take advanced placement tests and obtain college credit for high school courses, the department said. Passing the exams reduces the time and cost required to complete a college degree.

Cole said he understands the challenges students from low-income families face. He recalled growing up in Chicago under circumstances in which his family had to choose between paying bills and spending money they didn’t have on education.

“These grants are an important tool for states, and ultimately schools, to empower students from low-income neighborhoods to succeed in challenging courses,” Cole stated.

Funding levels were determined on the basis of state estimates of the number of tests that would be taken by students from low-income families.

SOURCE: Department of Education | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty


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