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Tennessee to develop program to help more students earn college credit in high school

The program will be called the AP Access for All program. The Niswonger Foundation is developing it.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — High school students in Tennessee will soon have more chances to earn college credit after education leaders announced a new program.

It will be called the Advanced Placement Access for All program and the Tennessee Department of Education announced Tuesday that the Niswonger Foundation will develop and support it. Through the program, students will be able to access AP courses virtually.

Officials said it should help eliminate financial barriers and boost student enrollment in AP coursework. Advanced placement courses normally award students with college credit after completing a test at the end of the school year.

Some students in Tennessee have limited access to advanced placement classes, depending on their availability in different schools. The program hopes to eliminate those barriers.

“Putting all students on a path to success means thinking creatively, breaking down barriers, and putting the best interest of the student at the center of all we do," said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. "Students who want to earn college credit through AP coursework shouldn’t be limited by the availability of coursework at the school he or she attends."

The Niswonger Foundation will recruit teachers and students into the program. It will also provide professional development and training, supporting teachers as they write AP lesson plans. The foundation will also offer platforms and resources for virtual students.

They will also manage AP test administration so that students who pass the test can get college credit.

The foundation has two main focuses — partnership programs for schools as well as a scholarship and leadership program for college students. It was started in 2001 to support education programs in Tennessee.