AP Equity Law holds college benefits for students

Megan Casey, Editor-in-Chief

More and more high school students every year are taking advantage of enrolling in Advanced Placement courses as well as choosing to sign-up for these Advanced Placement exams. This year, high school students, especially seniors, have a better opportunity to earn college credit before starting their freshman year of college.

In the past, colleges have been granting students with credit for AP test scores varying from some schools only accepting fours or fives to other schools accepting scores as low as twos. Over the summer, Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law that states that Illinois public colleges and universities must give course credit to students who score a three or higher on an AP exam.

Teacher’s responses to this new law have been nothing but positive as the law has many benefits for AP students.

“I think it’s fantastic,” English teacher Ryan Asmussen said. “I do not see any downside whatsoever. It’s appropriate in terms of what a student has to do in an AP course, and it’s a great incentive for students. I honestly don’t know why this hasn’t been done prior to this because it’s just so fair and right.”

One benefit that this law holds is that any Illinois public university or college, from the University of Illinois to Harper College, will accept those scores for credit. Students’ transcripts will just list the exam score as a college credit if the student is transferring from a two-year school to a four-year school.

In receiving this early college credit, students have the opportunity to get ahead in their studies for college.

“The biggest barrier for students in terms of going to college is the affordability and the idea that it’s going to take them so long to get their degree,” social science teacher Dan Saken said. “This takes care of both [barriers] that a lot of credits are going to already be paid for because they’re going to get credit for the AP classes, and they’re going to start ahead of the game, so it won’t take as long to get their degree.”

This change will also, help make college more affordable for those students who choose to take the AP exams.

“It’s financially positive, which is huge, and, again, that’s appropriate because college being what it is in terms of price…the student should be waived from taking the course and paying the $1,500 to $2,000, or whatever the cost is for their class,” Asmussen said.

In addition to these benefits, students should feel more encouraged to take AP exams just in knowing that their chances to receive college credit have increased.

“Maybe those students who were a little hesitant before, this will hopefully be that confidence boost to let them know that they can do it,” science teacher Alex Stavropoulos said. “If you’re at that AP level class, you’re there for a reason, so you can do it, and you can get that three as long as you just push yourself through the class and you prepare yourself, those college credits are just there for the taking.”

Students have also been responding to this new law positively.

“I think they should give you a different amount of credit based on the score you received on the test, but I think it’s good that if you get a three or higher, you would automatically receive that credit,” junior Emily Stegmeier said.

Students are able to look toward the future, considering college, and be grateful for this opportunity.

“I think it’s good because I feel like a lot of people get threes, because I did, and I was worried that it wouldn’t count, and now I’m glad it does so I can not take as many classes in college and get credits for taking them now,” sophomore Nicole Vassiliou said.

Current high school students should consider this opportunity and can academically benefit from it when considering colleges in the near future.

“Take advantage of this situation because who knows how long this law is going to last,” Stavropoulos said. “You guys are in a very fortunate place because the window is open and who knows how long it’s going to be open for.”