UT students say fees to claim AP, IB credits disservice low-income students

Claire Stevens, News Reporter

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the July 226, 2022 flip book. 

While many other public Texas universities do not charge fees to claim test scores, UT students must pay $10 per credit hour to claim their Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam credits — a charge some students say adds unexpected barriers for low-income students.

Nickoll Santos Garcia, a youth and community studies sophomore, said she believes the fee disservices low-income students.

“For low-income students like myself, we are told that taking AP, IB and dual credit classes in high school will save us money in university,” Santos Garcia said. “By charging students to claim the credit that they earned in high school, UT makes this process more challenging for low-income students who hoped to set themselves up for success.”

The fee to claim credit comes in addition to the fees students pay to take the exams and send their scores to UT. For example, during the 2021-22 school year, students in the U.S. paid a $96 base fee per AP exam, according to the College Board website. Students who want to claim credit for a course based on their AP or IB scores must petition for credit and pay the $10 per credit hour fee, according to UT’s Testing and Evaluation Services website.

“I thought that sending (my scores) to the University was all I had to do,” radio-television-film sophomore Audrey Goff said. “So then finding out that I had to pay like 100 bucks to actually submit all of my credits was unexpected and annoying. Because it’s just an extra fee.”

Kathleen Harrison, the assistant director for University Marketing and Communications, said in an email that UT’s high enrollment numbers lead to a high processing volume for test scores, which the fees cover the cost of. In spring 2022, the University processed more than 30,000 credit hours from credit-by-exam, Harrison said.

“Specifically, the $10 credit hour charge covers maintenance of our internal IT connections with the University’s registrar systems, IT staff to support the technical work of administering the credit-by-exam system as well as Student Testing Services to respond to client inquiries regarding credit/placement options at the University,” Harrison said.

Biochemistry sophomore Aashi Vishnoi said she took AP and IB classes in high school that qualified her to claim credit at UT. Vishnoi said she believes it’s unfair for UT to charge a fee for students to claim credit when they’ve already completed the work for these classes, especially when other large universities have shown it is possible to not charge the fee.

The websites for the other University of Texas campuses, Texas A&M University and Texas State University make no mention of any additional fees to claim course credit for AP and IB exams.

Vishnoi said she would like to see clearer information about what, if any, resources are available for students who can’t afford the fee — or to see the fee done away with altogether.

“The extra fee is just an increased financial burden (keeping) the student (from being) the best student they can be and getting ahead or completing their degree,” Vishnoi said. “Getting rid of that fee or making it more explicit on the website of what that fee is going towards … is important to create transparency between UT and the student.”