‘It’s been a barrier’: State superintendent plans to reduce cost of dual credit classes

SPOKANE, Wash. — Dual credit courses like Advanced Placement and Running Start help high school students earn college credits before they even graduate from high school. These courses can be costly, the test required for AP students to get college credit can cost almost one hundred dollars, and that’s per class. Some students take multiple classes.

“I’m taking four AP courses, AP Psychology, Biology, English, and Government,” said Mishka Caldwell, a senior at Ferris High School. Caldwell took another two AP courses during his junior year, which cost him 200 dollars. This year, if he takes all his AP tests, he could have to spend up to 400 dollars.

“It’s been a barrier in the past”, said Spokane Schools Executive Director of Student Success, Scott Kerwein. “There are cost reductions for free, reduced lunch students, but there’s still costs associated with other dual credit things that make it really difficult for students in an equitable way to access those college credits.”

On Wednesday, Washington Superintendent Chris Reykdal proposed a plan that allows students to take those courses, at no additional cost.

“Not a lot of kids are willing to spend 100 bucks on a test, and chances are a kid might pass or might not pass, it’s based on chance,” Caldwell said.

The school district is aware that these costs can create financial barriers, and say they don’t want students to miss out on chances to get ahead because of costs.

“We want every student to pursue every opportunity and we the school building or the district will take care of some of those costs,” Kerwein said. “It’s been a barrier in the past, financial considerations and costs for fees, and so we’re excited that Superintended Reykdahl is making this request to Washington legislators.”

The superintendent’s plan doesn’t change anything right now but Spokane schools is working with families to make sure students can take the classes they want, without money getting in the way.

READ: Washington Superintendent wants to reduce the cost of college credit classes for all students