San Diego

Parents Say Refund Falls Short on Invalidated AP Exams

A few families told NBC 7 they only received a partial refund for the canceled exams

Some Scripps Ranch High School parents are still waiting for the full refund they were promised on their students' invalidated Advanced Placement exams.

Last semester, the College Board invalidated 844 AP exam scores, after a test proctor filed an incident report that one student was suspected of cheating at the school.

About 200 students opted not to retake some or all of their AP tests after the debacle, and the families were promised refunds.

"We were told several times that 'No big deal, you'll get your refund. If you don't retake the test, it's okay and you'll get your $93 back," said Scripps Ranch parent Lori Erelenbach. "I only got $84 back."

Parents told NBC 7 they were refunded most of their money back for students' exams but not the full amount they were promised. Many parents said it's not about the money, but rather the latest disappointment in what seems like a never-ending saga.

A representative from The College Board told NBC 7 that of the $93 published exam fee, the school retains a rebate of $9 per exam to help offset exam administration expenses. The school then pays the College Board the balance, $84 per exam. 

The representative said College Board refunded the students exactly what it charged the school for the exam. 

There were other issues with the checks, some parents said.

"It's made out to the student. It's not even made out to the parent," said Malinda Shigo, another parent whose child just went off to college. "So, now I have to wait for my child to come home from college to cash this check."

A San Diego Unified district spokeswoman told NBC 7 the district would be contacting the College Board about the discrepancy.

One parent said she was told by the College Board the $9 was a shipping and handling fee.

"The College Board initiated and implemented the process for refunding the cost of the AP tests for Scripps Ranch High School families and made no mention of a shipping and handling fee to the San Diego Unified School District," said San Diego Unified School District spokeswoman Maureen Magee. "The district will conduct a prompt review of the situation on behalf of our students and families. "

Parents said they'd just like to cash their refund check and put the ordeal behind them.

"The kids are looking forward, not backwards," said Shigo. "We just want to be done with it."

Erelenbach expressed a similar sentiment about hoping to move forward from this issue.

"It's almost October, and we're still trying to take care of this. So yes, it's just nine dollars that we're missing, but really the issue is, it's still not done," said Erelenbach, whose child has also already gone off to college.

SDUSD told NBC 7 that the reimbursement for the AP tests is a 2-step process. First, they reimburse the $83. Now, the school district will work with Scripps Ranch High School to rebate the remaining $9 to parents.

The $9 is a fee for all high schools that participate in the program, according to the district.

In July, the SDUSD voted to take legal action against the College Board since the AP test scores were invalidated. A federal judge later ruled that the students would have to retake their exams and their tests remained voided.

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