- New Procedures
- Where to Start
- Income and Verification
- Cost of the AP and IB Tests
- Fee Reduction Process
What are the new procedures?
The state of California will use federal funds to pay a portion of the AP Exam fee for income-eligible public school students. Students who qualify for the Federal Free and/or Reduced Price Meal program are eligible for the $26 College Board fee reduction. For these students, the state of California will pay up to $48 per AP exam, depending on availability of federal funds. The CDE cannot guarantee 100 percent compensation.
What must the school do?
The school must indicate the eligible students by marking the “Option 1” oval on the College Board AP Exam answer sheet. When generating your invoice, enter the total number of exams taken by eligible students. Send payment of $5 per exam to the AP Program for AP exams taken by students qualifying for the College Board fee reduction. The College Board will bill the California Department of Education directly for $48 per exam per income-eligible student.
Where does a new coordinator or representative begin?
- To subscribe to the AP Listserv, please visit the CDE Advanced Placement Test Fee Listserv.
- Attend an AP/IB Test Fee Information Session to learn current procedures and requirements. Information Sessions are scheduled each year in the fall (October/November).
- Determine if a previous AP Coordinator left information that explains the process and the district responsibilities.
- Determine if the district representative has been assigned a pin number and password by the California Department Education (CDE). If not, contact the CDE.
How are AP Tests ordered?
AP Coordinators order AP Tests from the College Board. AP Test information can be found in the AP Coordinators Manual and at College Board Testing Coordinator .
How do I determine eligibility?
The test fee funds shall be used only to pay the fees required of income eligible students who take an AP and/or IB test. Schools are required to notify all students and parents of the availability of these subsidies.
The income levels are for families in which the income does not exceed 185 percent of the federal poverty income levels. A student who qualifies for, or is participating in, the Free or Reduced Price Meal Program qualifies.
The federal poverty income levels change each year. The Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety, United States Department of Agriculture, issues the guidelines for the Free or Reduced Price Meal Program. These are provided to all schools and district representatives via the CDE listserv.
Which income level should be used?
Annual gross or total income level is used to determine eligibility. If you are using a U.S. Individual Income Tax Return Form 1040, refer to line 22; line 15 on the 1040A; and line 1 on the 1040EZ.
What income verification is needed to qualify for the reimbursement?
The federal government states that “a student’s status as a low-income individual include documentation required under Chapter 1 of Subpart 2 of Part A of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965”. This documentation can be:
- An approved Free or Reduced Price Meal application for the student’s family.
- Verification from another governmental source.
- A signed financial aid application.
- A signed United States or Puerto Rico income tax return.
- A Parental (Student) Financial Hardship Statement.
The Student Eligibility Verification form serves as verification to determine eligibility and must be kept on file and be presented if requested.
What if my school has a Provision 1, 2, or, 3 designation?
A Provision 1, 2, or 3 designation reduces application burdens and simplifies meal counting and claiming procedures for districts for a period of two to four years. During the designated period, schools do not need to recertify students for income eligibility. Schools with a Provision 1, 2, or 3 designation may use this documentation to certify students for the AP/IB test fee eligibility. The school district nutrition office will have a letter confirming the school and/or district status.
For more information, visit USDA Food and Nutrition Services School Meals .
Are there students who qualify for the Free or Reduced Price Meal Program but are not eligible?
No. All students who qualify for the Free or Reduced Price Meal Program are eligible. A student does not have to participate in the Free or Reduced Price Meal Program to be eligible for the fee waiver.
Are students eligible for the fee reimbursement if they did not take the AP class but want to take the test?
Yes. A student does not have to take an AP class to be eligible to take the test and/or to be eligible for the fee reimbursement program.
NOTE: A student must be enrolled in the IB Diploma Program to register for and take the IB tests.
Can a student retake a test?
Yes. The student may retake a test in the following school year providing the student meets the income guidelines or moved from another school and did not have an opportunity to take the test. Districts may want to develop a policy that clarifies when a test retake is appropriate.
Are foster students eligible?
Yes. The student stands alone as a family of “one.” Only the income the foster parent receives for the foster student is used to verify that the student meets the income guidelines; the income of the foster parent is not included.
Are homeless students eligible?
Generally, a homeless student will be eligible. If the student is living on his/her own, the student will probably qualify for the Free or Reduced Price Meal Program and stands alone as a family of “one.” If the student lives with a family member or members, then the income for that family unit will be used.
Is a student who is in a home-school program eligible?
Yes. The student’s parent must complete income eligibility criteria and work with a local public school district and receive any reimbursement from the local public school district.
How much does an income eligible student pay for each AP/IB test?
The California Education Code (EC) states that income eligible students shall pay $5.00 per AP/IB test and $5.00 per IB registration fee. Therefore, students must pay $5.00 for each AP/IB test and $5.00 for each IB registration fee.
What is the school’s cost of the AP test for income eligible students?
The cost of the AP test for income eligible students is $57.00. The student shall pay $5.00; the CDE may reimburse the district up to $52.00. Refer to the 2011–12 Fee Distribution Chart.
What is the cost and reimbursement of the IB tests? Are registration fees reimbursed?
The cost of the IB test for income eligible students is $100.00; the reimbursement rate may be up to $95.00. The cost of the registration fee is $145.00; the reimbursement rate may be up to $140.00. The student shall pay $5.00 for each test and $5.00 for the registration fee.
Do students qualify for any additional discounts from the CDE if they take more than one test?
No. All reimbursements are based on a student’s household income. The reimbursement will be issued up to the rate designated per test.
Is there a fee waiver for students who do not qualify for the reduction?
No. However, schools may use other funds to help students who do not qualify.
How does a district apply for the AP/IB Test Fee Program with the CDE?
Participating districts must:
- Have a completed and signed AP Invoice from the school coordinator that includes the number of income eligible students and the number of tests taken by each income eligible student. The invoice is obtained at College Board Education Professionals .
- Complete and submit the CDE form on the CDE RFA Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Test Fee Web page.
- The online form documents the date and time of the district submission.
- Mail a hard copy of the completed CDE form with the College Board AP Exam Invoice: State Copy and the IB Fee Summary if applying for IB to the CDE. The AP Invoice must include the AP Coordinator’s name, school e-mail, school phone number, and signature. The CDE form and the AP Invoice: State Copy must have original signatures.
- Keep a copy of the CDE form, College Board AP Invoice: State Copy and IB Fee Summary to track reimbursement amounts per school. Please do not submit the school or district worksheets to CDE.
NOTE : In compliance with the federal funding requirements, the CDE will require districts applying for the AP/IB Test Fee Program to submit additional documentation. Districts will be selected randomly each year. This documentation may include (1) agendas/minutes of staff meetings where the AP/IB Test Feet Program and application process were discussed; (2) communications with students and parents regarding the AP/IB Test Fee Program and how students may apply; and (3) board policies regarding the use of categorical flexibility as it relates to the former state funded AP/IB Test Fee Program which included funding for IB grants.
If I submit the online request, am I done?
No. The department does not allow for the online CDE form to be the official request because original signatures are required on the CDE form and each CDE form contains unique amounts which must be keyed by the CDE staff.
If the student does not show up on test day, can the student be charged the return fee?
No. Students may only be charged fees in accordance with California Education Code (EC) Section 52244(d), which states: "a pupil who receives a grant shall pay five dollars ($5) of the examination fee." The EC does not state that students will be responsible for any fees related to returning an unused exam or for exam administration.
When will the CDE reimburse the school district for IB program participants?
Reimbursements occur after the annual state budget is enacted. Districts that submit the proper forms by the due dates should allow approximately 16 weeks from the time the budget is enacted. The district office is required to credit each participating school for their reimbursement based on the amounts in the summary.
How does CDE notify the county office of education (COE) that the IB reimbursement has been made?
The CDE Accounting Office notifies, via e-mail, the County Treasurer that a disbursement has been sent. The CDE’s AP/IB Program Office will also notify the CDE AP Listserv via e-mail.
Is there a Web site to see the reimbursement amount?
Yes. Districts and schools may view their reimbursement amounts at Search CDE Funding. The amount of reimbursement is subject to reductions if the total amount requested exceeds the federal allotment to California.
What will the state do if funds are unavailable to meet the demands of all school districts?
The California EC states that if the total amount of funds requested by district applications received by the deadline exceeds the total funds available, the CDE shall pro-rate the apportionments based upon the ratio of the total amount requested to the total amount budgeted by the federal government for the program.
CDE will apply for supplemental federal funds. If these funds are awarded, CDE will authorize a second payment to districts.
What official submits the request for compensation to the CDE?
The district’s designee. The district superintendent authorizes this assignment.
- District offices that apply online, but neglect to mail the signed CDE form and the College Board Invoice: State Copy and IB Fee Summary( if applying for IB), to the CDE, will not be eligible for reimbursement. Districts that do not complete the College Board and CDE online submissions and mail hard copies of all required forms will not be compensated.
- A school site coordinator that sends the College Board Invoice or IB Fee Summary directly to the CDE will not be processed as a request for reimbursement.
- A district office that misses the online submission deadline is not eligible for reimbursement.
- No exceptions are made for late or incomplete applications.
- The CDE will e-mail the PIN and Password to all designated district representatives in May 2012.
Are private or charter schools eligible for AP/IB Test Fee Program funds?
Yes. Charter schools are eligible as long as federal funds continue to support the AP/IB test fee reimbursement efforts.
Private schools are eligible as long as there are federal funds to support the AP/IB test fee efforts. The CDE cannot reimburse private schools directly. Private schools must work with a local public school district and receive any reimbursement from the local public school district.
What are the program deadlines?
Districts that do not complete the College Board and CDE online submissions and mail hard copies of all required forms will not be reimbursed.
- June 15, 2012 – Districts submit invoice online to the College Board.
- June 15, 2012 –Districts submit the CDE online form.
- June 29, 2012 – hard copies of both the signed CDE form and the College Board Invoice: State Copy and IB Fee Summary, (if applying for IB), must be received by CDE. Postmarks are not accepted.
How are schools and districts informed of the AP/IB Test Fee Program?
CDE uses several approaches to notify school and district personnel about the AP Test Fees Program:
- Annually, information is sent to all high school AP/IB teachers, counselors, principals, and superintendents; AP, IB, and Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) coordinators; and charter schools regarding the program.
- Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines, Student Eligibility Verification, and Statement of Income Eligibility forms are sent to the above individuals in August and throughout the school year as requested by school and district personnel.
- Monthly bulletins are e-mailed to the above individuals with updates to ensure that all school and district personnel receive information.
- Webinars are scheduled to assist AP/IB coordinators, teachers, and district office personnel with the process and forms.
- The CDE consultant attends College Board and IB meetings and a variety of conferences to provide information and to emphasize access and equity for all students.
- The CDE disseminates information through the Advancement Via Individual Determination Program (AVID) regional staff, teachers, and site coordinators.
- The CDE provides participating high schools an informational brochure for counselors and career center staff to provide to students and parents.
- The information is posted on the CDE, College Board, and California Association of International Baccalaureate School Web sites and can be accessed by students, parents, and educators.
- School and district personnel may download and print the forms at CDE RFA Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Test Fee Program. This page is updated annually and school and district personnel should check the Web page for updates if they do not receive the information via e-mail.
- The CDE uses a Lyris account to notify appropriate school and district personnel that new information is available and has been posted to the CDE Web site. To be added to the Lyris e-mail account, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.