TDOE & Niswonger Foundation Partnership Sees Increase in Enrollment in Program’s Second Year and Exceeds First Year Goals
Today, the Tennessee Department of Education, in partnership with the Niswonger Foundation, highlighted the 2022 AP Access for ALL Annual Impact Report and the results of the first year of the program, which is providing free, online advanced placement courses for Tennessee high school students. More than 1,800 students signed up for classes this fall, an increase of more than 600 students from the 2021-22 school year.
AP Access for ALL is a grant program created by the Tennessee Department of Education and administered by the Niswonger Foundation. The program provides students across the state with access to 17 different virtual AP courses, eliminating financial barriers and supporting student enrollment in AP coursework not currently offered at their home high school.
“Every Tennessee student, no matter where they live, should have access to college-level coursework and the opportunity to prepare for life after high school,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “AP Access for ALL is eliminating barriers and opening doors for students to earn college credit for free and gain valuable skills that they can use in whatever postsecondary institution or career path they choose.”
With 90% of Tennessee school districts participating in the program, more students than ever have access to rigorous, college-preparatory coursework in Tennessee. Before the launch of AP Access for ALL in June 2021, only 50% of Tennessee high school students had access to an AP class at their school. In the 2021-22 school year, forty-two schools enrolled students who previously did not have access to any AP classes.
“AP Access for ALL allows our school to offer AP opportunities and training resources to our students and staff that our small school district would not be able to offer on our own,” said Oneida High School Principal Stacy Love. “This program offers equity in opportunity to students in rural areas.”
“My high school only offered one AP class, but with AP Access for ALL, I was given the opportunity to take five. I’m now going to college with 24 credits already completed with the help of these online classes,” said East Nashville High School graduate (‘22) Abdurkader Abdi. Abdi is attending Boston College in the fall.
Fifty-six percent of AP Access for ALL students achieved scores considered by the College Board to be “college ready” or better. An analysis showed students saved an estimated $454,000 through AP Access for ALL in potential college fees by allowing them to earn college credit and skip introductory classes.
While these courses are virtual, many schools provide time and computer labs for students to complete coursework during school hours. Additionally, all AP Access for ALL courses are taught by certified and trained Tennessee teachers.
In 2021-22, the Niswonger Foundation provided scholarships for nearly 600 teachers to attend the AP Summer Institute Training through the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, University of South Florida, and Rice University across 27 subjects. By covering all fees, AP Access for ALL saved school systems an estimated $330,000. The program also offered $21,500 in grants to more than 40 AP teachers across the state to enhance their classrooms.
“Through AP Access for ALL, we are helping to develop teachers, create a culture of college prep and career readiness, and ultimately save students, families, and school districts money,” said AP Access for ALL program director Gina Pavlovich. “We are thrilled to see so many students, teachers, and counselors taking advantage of this incredible opportunity and look forward to another fantastic school year.”
Student enrollment for the 2023 spring semester opens in November and free AP training will once again be available for Tennessee educators in Summer 2023.
Funding for AP Access for ALL is through the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) and Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds.
For a full list of participating counties, courses offered, and more information, visit tnapaccessforall.org.