- Associated Press - Monday, May 5, 2014

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) - The state of Oregon plans to expand subsidies for high-school students taking advanced placement exams that can allow them to skip introductory college courses.

For low-income students, the state will pick up the entire tab, in hopes of removing a financial barrier to students who might forgo the tests and then wind up paying much more for college credits later on, the Medford Mail Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/StalFr ).

The tests costs $89 each, and many students sign up for more than one.

Previously, with help from a federal grant and a College Board discount, the cost to low-income students was $33 per test.

With the additional state funding and a renewed federal grant, they will now get the tests free, and other public school students will pay $56.

School officials said they firmed up the subsidies recently, with word that a federal grant would be renewed.

Most students have already registered and paid for this year’s exams, which will be offered over the next two weeks. They’re getting refunds.

School officials said they expect to see greater numbers of tests next year - the subsidies are funding 6,712 exams this year for low-income students. The state estimates that could rise to 7,600 next year.

“I expect those numbers to go up … for the regular students as well,” said Michelle Dabbs, advanced placement coordinator at South Medford High School. “This year, we didn’t know about the waiver until after we had ordered all the tests.”

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Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/