School district raises AP exam prices

By Julie Vargas, Staff Writer

This year, the MVLA school district increased Advancement Placement (AP) exam prices from $95 to $105.

According to Associate Superintendent Mike Mathiesen, the MVLA school district required more money than expected because test administration costs were greater than the money collected from the students. Since the school population keeps growing, more money had to be spent on supplies including tables, chairs, and pencils. As a result, the district was forced to re-evaluate the charges for this year.

According to College Board, any school district can increase the prices of their AP exams in order to fund proctoring and administration costs. College Board’s baseline fee is $94 per AP test. The district was originally planning to price each one at $95—which is $1 more than last year’s— but had to raise it by another $10 after re-evaluating charges.

Many Los Altos students expressed concerns with this change.

“In my opinion, AP classes are for students that are passionate about that course,” junior Raluca Nistor said. “If the test is that expensive, it discourages the students from enrolling in these classes that might really interest them.”

Junior Claire Kwok had similar thoughts in regards to the increased price of the exams.

“I think it almost discouraged students to take the AP tests because it costs so much money, almost twice as much as the SAT,” Kwok said. “Many students also take more than one AP class each year, which means they spend a few hundred dollars just to take tests. I think our school needs to consider reducing the prices for AP testing.”

Neighboring schools have also experienced a rise in AP exam prices. Last year, Saratoga High School charged $100, Fremont High School charged around $105-$110, and Palo Alto High School and Gunn High School charged $115.

The school district uses most of the money from its students to pay for testing proctors. The proctors monitor the exams and help with individual accommodations. The school administration, staff and AP coordinators can be proctors.

A proctor is paid more when he or she is assisting a student that needs special accommodations to the exam. This includes extended times, large type tests, a reader to enunciate the questions and a writer to note down the responses.

This price increase has not affected students with financial aid waivers. Regardless of any increase or decrease on fees, students that need financial support will continue to receive the same amount of support.

“We are sensitive to the impact on families of increased prices for AP exams and do all we can to keep costs as low as possible,” Mathiesen said. “That is one of the reasons AP exam fees have not gone up significantly in almost a decade.”