New AP exam registration deadline, controversy

Hodda Alazani, Staff Editor

In the past, AP students had several months to decide whether or not to take the exams in May. This year, exam registration has moved from the spring to November. College Board is now requiring final exam ordering to be done no later than November 15, by midnight Eastern Standard Time. Furthermore, any late orders or cancellations will now include a $40 fee per exam. Central AP Program Coordinator Erin English advises students to begin notifying parents as soon as possible so they can be better prepared for the upcoming exam fees. Exam registration will be open from October 21 through November 8 and payments are due to the finance office by November 13. Each exam is $94, with a $5 fee reduction available to students who qualify. 

Teachers and counselors have expressed their concern for middle-income students by signing a petition on to reverse this deadline and fee decision. The petition states that the College Board is only seeking money and not looking out for students’ well-being. It goes on to claim that the organization is contributing to student stress by requiring fees to be paid months earlier than in the past. The College Board asserts that requiring students to make an earlier commitment will increase their motivation in their AP classes. As of today, over 120,000 educators have signed the petition.

Students and teachers at Central have mixed opinions, recognizing both the pros and cons of recent changes. Central East AP economics teacher Michael Hall says he agrees with the earlier deadline because it “forces everybody to plan a little bit more and to make commitments earlier.” Hall adds the decision evidences more of a lack of consideration for middle-class students, rather than a scheme to profit off students. Other teachers believe the change does creates an unfair burden for students who cannot qualify for financial aid, but do not come from affluent families. Central West AP United States History teacher Matthew Abajian says that though he understands expenses could pile up for students who don’t qualify for a fee reduction that, even with potential late fees, testing out of a college course is still a cheaper alternative.

Central senior Juana Cruz Sampedro has taken AP classes since her sophomore year and said she worries for the younger students who aren’t sure enough of their capabilities to commit to the test this early in the year. Another senior, Maura Cruz, stated she was worried this places an undue financial strain on students, aligning herself with the hundreds of thousands who have signed the online petition. Still, both students believe this will be a good motivator as it eliminates months of deliberation and doubts that hold students back from registering. Teachers and students also point out that earlier registration may mean less students will drop an AP class come spring semester because they’ve already paid for an exam.