Sunnyside schools seek help for AP students

Sunnyside District looking for sponsors to help students pay for AP tests

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - For many students, Advanced Placement classes can be a key part of what helps to prepare them for and get them into college. When it comes to affording AP tests though, that can be difficult for students. That's why the Sunnyside Unified School District is asking the community for help for some of their AP students.

The AP exam that could earn students college credit costs $94 per test.

According to AP Spanish teacher Zelika Araiza, many of the students she teaches at Sunnyside High School take multiple AP classes meaning they have to pay that $94 for the AP test in each of those classes. Araiza says that cost is very difficult for a lot of her students to afford because many of them are youth on their own, making their situation already difficult as is.

"They want to take the AP class. They want the AP credit. So this is where we have the challenge where these students can't afford it and we're trying to do everything that we can to get them to that next step," Araiza said.

According to College Board, the organization that facilitates and runs AP testing, "Students who are either enrolled or eligible to participate in the Federal Free or Reduced-Price Lunch Program qualify for the AP Exam fee reduction on all AP Exams that they take in a given year." For students at Sunnyside High School who get free breakfast and lunch, that exam fee reduction is crucial.

Araiza says that around 240 students at Sunnyside High School are enrolled in AP classes. She estimates that around 60 percent of them cannot afford the cost of the test.

Araiza says the teachers at Sunnyside have a schedule that includes practice tests during the second semester of the school year. The practice tests are sometimes on Saturdays, Araiza says, typically around 7:30 in the morning. In Araiza's AP Spanish class specifically, the practice tests are a part of students' grades.

Ultimately though, Araiza says she thinks the AP classes are worth it and she notes that even though $94 is a hefty chunk of change, it's far less than what students would pay for the same as a college student.

"Our students are college bound so we want them to go to college and AP tests offer them that opportunity to get college credit before they even graduate high school. So our students, especially my students, will get anywhere between 14 and 21 credits even before they get to college," Araiza said.

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