AP exam fees get students talking

HCPS has instilled a $50 absentee fee for AP exams, how do RHS students feel about it?

Kenzie Hatton, Staff Writer

With AP exams rapidly approaching, many students are already preparing, studying and hoping to pass their tests.

But, this year, some students have made it known that they don’t want to take the two to three hour-long AP test. However, Hillsborough County has instilled a $50 fee for students to pay to the school per exam absence, which marks a $35 increase from last year and is higher than College Board’s required opt-out fee.

Some students have voiced the opinion that they don’t think there should be such a high fee, or even a fee at all, if they choose not to take an AP exam. For some, their decision to opt out is not just because they don’t want the college credit, but because they don’t feel they are qualified enough to pass.

Annabelle Allison (’19), a student enrolled in four AP classes this year, feels that the fee is unreasonable, especially considering the teaching situation in the science department. 

“I’m annoyed that we have to take the [AP Physics] exam,” Allison said. “I feel like we haven’t had a teacher for most of the year and it’s basically setting us up to fail.”

Josh Quintanilla (’19) feels similar about his AP Physics exam. He was one of the many students who was planning to opt out of the test but quickly figured out that the fee was higher than he was willing to pay.

“I think it is unfair that we have to pay to not take an exam that we haven’t been taught the entire year,” Quintanilla said. “[The school] didn’t even give us a warning that we had to take the exam.”

According to College and Career Counselor Meredith Wright, the high-priced fee was to discourage students from missing or skipping their exam since Robinson pays for students’ exams regardless of if they show up or not. She says that one-fourth of the students in the district did not show up to take their test last spring, which is a disconcerting number considering that each test costs $94.

“In recent years, the absentee rate has risen,” Wright said. “The fee is in reaction to the number of students who have been missing AP exams that the county then has to pay for.”

In addition to test fees for absentees, Robinson and College Board also have an additional fee of $45 if a student arrives late the day of the test.

Click here to read more about exam fees. Some costs may slightly differ for Robinson.