Saturday, May 28, 2011

My back of the envelope analysis of why it makes Sense AND Cents to take AP classes and the AP tests seriously. By my count it is costing you AT THE MINIMUM $25,000 by not doing so! YES, that number is right...See my calculations...

How much is NOT taking AP classes and AP Tests costing you in REAL dollars? The calculation below will give you an idea of how much it costs you to forgo the rigor of Advanced Placement classes.  It is difficult to account for all costs, explicit or implicit.  I believe the bottom line number I arrive at is a LOW figure because of the particular number I use for tuition, room and board.  Read it and let me know of any other "opportunity costs" I have left out that will either INCREASE the difference or DECREASE it.  I am open to revision of these numbers...

Here is my step by step analysis of why you SHOULD take AP classes and the AP test in those subjects:

Skip AP classes in High School---Go directly to college

1. Go to college and take 5 classes, which equals 15 credit hours towards a degree.

2. Estimated  cost of attending a Public University in Texas  $8,000 (room, board, tuition, books,etc) to take 15 credit hours. This is an UNDER ESTIMATION!

3. To put this in perspective, if you had a job earning $8.00 per hour (net after taxes) you would have to work 1,000 hours to earn the money to pay a semesters tuition.  This is probably an OVER ESTIMATION or your net hourly wage.

4. 1000 hours/40 per week = 25 weeks of work (almost 6 months) to earn the money to attend college for 1 semester!!

5.  This assumes ALL your earnings went to pay for college and nothing else.

6. If you have to pay living expenses out of your paycheck, you may have to take out a loan, so add that to the cost of a semester. For simplicity, we will leave that out of the equation.

7. Your total cost for a semester of college for our purposes is $8,000,  and most likely more.

Now assume you took AP classes in High School.

1. Take 5 AP classes in High School. Take 5 AP tests and get a score that your college will take for credit

2. Each AP test costs $56

3. Total cost for AP tests $280.00

4. Assume you study an extra 10 hours a week for AP classes relative to non-AP classes.  We have 36 weeks of school  X  10  hours per week = 360 hours of extra study time

5. Assume we account for the money you “lost” by not working and studying instead---$8.00/hr X 360 = $2,800 (your opportunity cost of not working)

Lets total up what we have so far.

Your total cost of a semester of college WITHOUT AP tests= $8,000

WITH AP tests =$3,080 ($280 AP tests + $2,800 forgone wages)

The difference/savings =$4,920 WITH AP CREDIT

ALSO—you took care of a semester of college while still in high school (where you have to be ANYWAY). You can finish college a semester earlier than normal. You can get a full time job after getting your degree. Assume you get a job paying $40,000 per year (depending on your degree, add some (or a lot) or subtract some. That extra semester in college is costing you about $20,000 in income!! You have to add that into the above calculations.

Lost income by attending an extra semester of college = $20,000

The Total Cost of NOT getting 15 hours (1 Semester) of AP credit = $24,920

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