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Blair requests additional AP fees from students

Students, teachers express discontent with extra fees

By Varun Gulati, Page Editor
May 4, 2006
Blair students taking dual Advanced Placement (AP) Economics, Government or Physics exams will have to pay an additional $70 fee for each pair of exams by tomorrow, according to letters issued today by the Blair Counseling Department.

In previous years, students taking any of the AP Economics (Macroeconomics and Microeconomics), Government (United States and Comparative) and Physics (Mechanics and Magnetism) exams had been told that they needed to pay $82 to take both tests within any of the three subject areas. College Board, the organization that administers the AP exams, instituted a new policy this year that required separate payments for each exam.

In the letter issued to students, Resource Counselor Marcia Johnson wrote that students could elect to take only one of the two tests from the registered subject area, or could pay an additional $70 fee for each second test within a subject area. The additional payment must be given to Financial Secretary Donna Franklin by 3 p.m. tomorrow, May 5.

Though the letter stated that the dual fee had "just come to the attention" of the Counseling Department, Johnson said in an interview that the College Board indicated some policy change when Blair received registration material in December and January, but the indication was unclear. "They changed it earlier, but it was not clear when we did registration [in February and March]," she said.

The additional fees were clear to the counseling department when they received the AP tests "late last week," Johnson said. The department met with Principal Phillip Gainous, who agreed that Blair could cover $12 of each additional $82 fee.

Johnson encouraged students to take both tests in a subject area if they initially intended to, and wrote that a student or parent who cannot make the payment should contact her. At 11:21 a.m., she sent out an e-mail to Blair staff stating, "No student will be turned away because they have not paid the additional fee."

AP Economics teacher Brian Hinkle said that the news of the extra fees was a surprise to him, and he speculated that some students would decide not to take it now. "It costs more; less kids will take it," he said. "If I have to pay for both, and I'm shaky on one or the other, I'm going to do what? Choose one."

Senior Marvin Arnold, who registered to take both AP Physics tests, expressed his discontent with the fee. "I think it's annoying that the school is not taking responsibility and that they're pushing their problems onto us," he said.