AP Exam Prices found unreasonable by DVHS students

Shreya Jagannathan and Shreyas Sambara

Although AP exam prices from College Board have reportedly increased by $1 this year, SRVUSD prices have reportedly been the same for a few years. Regardless of prices remaining the same, many students and parents are finding SRVUSD exam prices to be excessive in comparison to other schools, raising questions concerning who is on the receiving end of the money paid.

According to AP Central, the price for AP exams should be $97 each for schools in the U.S, U.S territories and DoDea Schools (federally operated systems that operate on behalf of the Department of Defense). At the moment, DVHS AP exam price starts at $125, and according to administration the price has been the same for the last four years. 

AP Central also states that there is a $9 rebate for the schools for each exam given, so in reality students are paying more than the exact $97 AP Central claims. So when purchasing an exam within SRVUSD, students pay an additional cost of nearly $30 and occasionally even more depending on the exam purchased.

Nishank Raisinghani, a junior at DVHS, said the prices are “unaccommodating” and that “it doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t seem as expensive at other schools.”

SRVUSD allegedly charges more than neighboring school districts. For example, the Dublin Unified School District charges $110, and Oakland Technical High School charges $94. Even though the price disparity isn’t huge between other schools and DVHS, the difference leaves DVHS students and parents confused about where the money is going. 

An anonymous student source said, “I don’t know who to blame. We [are] just blindly paying the money without paying attention to what we are actually paying for.”

On the contrary, teachers and staff that do logistical work regarding distributing AP exams feel differently. The annual administration of College Board AP Exams is one of Dougherty Valley’s biggest operations.

DVHS AP exam coordinator Catie Hawkins said, “They have to put extra into the cost because we have to pay for proctors which is very expensive materials that go along with it. All of that kind of space to give the test.”

The DVHS school administration has the job of purchasing the exams, and specifically the right exams for the exact number of students, planning locations and renting tables. Then, they must deal with finding local proctors and teaching them what procedure is for the duration of each exam. Admin must also deal with the possibility of canceled exams and people who sign up for exams through independent study. From their standpoint, such a cost is justified for their manpower.

Furthermore, there are other options for certain families in need and worried about the pricing. 

Hawkins explained, “It’s called Freedom freely reduced lunch where particular families have been identified privately as needing assistance with the test.”

Moreover, there has been talk amongst students and parents that paying such money defeats the purpose of AP exams, which is to save money in college by completing credits within the duration of high school. 

“You’re getting college credits for it so it’s a lot less money to get college credits than to actually attend college and take the classes. So if when you’re looking at it that way, and how much manpower it takes for us to give the test that it’s really not that crazy of a price,” Hawkins said.

Unfortunately college credits only apply when a student receives a score of three or above, and essentially college credit is fully determined by a student’s performance on the AP exam.