COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education
March 28, 2014
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction
The United States Department of Education (USED) has notified the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) that funding may become available for the 2013-2014 Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Test Fee Program grant. The VDOE will submit a proposal to receive funds to reimburse AP/IB test fees for low-income students once the application is made available by USED. It is anticipated that VDOE will be notified in the fall regarding the status of the funding award.
The purpose of this grant is to increase the participation of low-income students in AP/IB classes and testing. While a majority of Virginia’s high schools participate in the Advanced Placement program, some divisions have indicated that they have students who are capable of taking Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses but cannot afford to take the tests.
It appears that funding may be available to reimburse school divisions at $37 per AP exam and $86 per IB exam for each exam taken by students qualifying for the College Board or International Baccalaureate fee reduction, however, USED has indicated that overall funding for the AP and IB Test Fee Program will likely be reduced for 2013-2014 compared to what was available last year.
Please note the following changes in procedure: school divisions are now responsible for direct payment to the College Board for purchasing the tests. The VDOE will make reimbursements directly to school divisions based on information provided in the attached survey. School divisions will be notified of the final reimbursement amounts in fall 2014. Depending on the amount of grant funds awarded to Virginia and the number of low-income students who actually take the tests, the amount reimbursed to each school division by the VDOE for the cost of the tests may be less than the total amount spent by the school division for the purchase cost. Funds will be electronically transferred to each school division based on the final federal grant award received by the VDOE.
Funds provided under this program may be used only to supplement, and not supplant, other federal, state, local, or private funds available to assist individuals identified as low-income students in paying for AP and IB testing. School divisions that have a program in place that pays test fees for all AP and IB tests are not eligible for this program, since it would constitute supplanting.
To allocate funds that may be awarded to VDOE in 2014, VDOE must collect certain data that are required by USED. This year, projected and actual data will be collected in an electronic survey. To complete the electronic survey, each division must assign a point of contact for the AP/IB Test Fee Payment Program and grant data entry privileges through the Single Sign-On for Web Systems (SSWS) Portal. A copy of the survey is attached to assist with the collection of required information needed to complete the electronic survey. The electronic survey is available at https://p1pe.doe.virginia.gov/ssws/login.page.do, and will open on Monday, March 31, 2014. The completed survey that verifies projected data is due no later than Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
Once the electronic projected data are submitted, the system (SSWS) will generate a Verification of Projected Data Report (under Reports on the gray menu bar located on the right-hand side of the screen) that must be signed by the division superintendent and faxed to Cheryl Strobel at (804) 786-1597 on or before Wednesday, April 16, 2014. A copy of this report with original signature must be kept on file locally for audit purposes. The signed faxed copy of the Verification of Projected Data Report must also be on file with the VDOE confirming that the school division will adhere to the assurances listed. Failure to submit projected data reduces the possibility of obtaining federal funds for the division.
To receive a reimbursement, the school division must complete an additional electronic survey in the system (SSWS) that verifies actual data. This electronic survey is available at https://p1pe.doe.virginia.gov/ssws/login.page.do, and will open on Thursday, May 1, 2014. The completed survey that verifies actual data is due no later than Friday, June 20, 2014. Once the electronic actual data are submitted, the system (SSWS) will generate a Verification of Actual Data Report (under Reports on the gray menu bar located on the right-hand side of the screen) that must be signed by the division superintendent and faxed to Cheryl Strobel at (804) 786-1597 on or before Friday, June 20, 2014. School divisions cannot receive reimbursements if a signed copy of the Verification Report of Actual Data is not on file with VDOE.
For questions, please contact Cheryl Strobel, associate director, Office of Humanities and Early Childhood, at Cheryl.Strobel@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 371-7578.