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Posted at 1:01 PM ET, 01/11/2010

How do schools spend AP fees?

By Valerie Strauss

Ever wonder what your local high school does with the money it makes from the Advanced Placement tests its students take?

Did you even know that your local high school can profit from each AP test it administers, sometimes collecting thousands of dollars each year? .

According to the College Board, the fee for each AP exam is $86, and for each test, the school can keep $8.

School districts in Northern Virginia have been paying AP test fees for their students, but this is not true everywhere in the Washington D.C. region.

The Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County just reported on what one school did with its cash: It used it to offer the PSAT to 11th graders free.

The standard PSAT fee for this past fall was $13, none of which can be kept by the school. Parents of students at most Montgomery County schools paid it. And some high schools, including Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Gaithersburg and Seneca Valley, added an additional $1 to $2 to the PSAT fee as a fund raiser, according to the coalition.

Not Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda. It didn’t charge anything for the 11th graders to take the PSAT.

It funded the test administration with profits made from giving 1,851 AP tests last spring, which would have yielded a profit of about $14,800 if none of the students qualified for a fee waiver. (Schools don’t keep the $8 for any test given to a student who qualifies for a fee waiver.)

It seems fair to ask why schools that don’t pay the whole AP test fee actually collect the $8 instead of reducing the student cost by that amount. So I'm asking.

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By Valerie Strauss  | January 11, 2010; 1:01 PM ET
Tags:  AP tests  
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