As high school students, we are constantly reminded that these are the last years that we can reap the benefits of a free education, but how much of that statement is true?
I would agree that, yes, for generic, Regents/non-AP (Advanced Placement)/non-SUPA (Syracuse University) classes, our education is free (without taking taxes into consideration). The trouble is that many students take at least one AP course in their high school career; many have taken several throughout their four years, myself included. Doing so requires quite a large chunk of change from the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow -- in fact, I might have to rob a few leprechauns in order to pay for two AP courses (which cost $80 apiece) and one SUPA class (which costs $500, but allows financial aid) this year.
Perhaps the most ludicrous part of paying for AP classes is that we aren't even guaranteed credit. We're simply paying to either pass or fail an exam. Although it is understandable that the College Board will want to charge some money for a class of higher caliber, I do think that a fee of $80 per class is a bit hefty -- especially when parents sometimes have to pay these fees for several of their children who may be taking more than one AP class each.
The AP fees leave students who feel that because of the high prices they can't take the class at a disadvantage. This is a puzzling situation, since AP courses seem to be essential when applying to college -- we are more than encouraged to push ourselves academically yet we have very little space to negotiate in regard to financial options. Why the AP classes aren't more accessible is a completely valid question.
Although I don't see this problem being fixed in the near future, I do think it is an imperative point to raise in the hope that maybe someday things will change and our high school education really will be free (or somewhat close).
Arianna Lang is a senior at Clarence High School.