Alabama is seeing more students take Advanced Placement courses and more students passing those exams over the years.
Advanced Placement or AP classes are college level courses offered in high school. At the end of the course, students take an exam.
If they get a qualifying score of a 3, 4 or 5, they can earn at least three hours of college credit per class. A new study shows the growth of students receiving a qualifying score in Alabama is up 136 percent over the last six years -- the highest in the U.S.
When it comes to minority students qualifying scores, Alabama is number one in the nation also, with a 232 percent increase, compared to national increase of 112 percent.
One-hundred-eighteen schools in the state participate in the A+ College Ready AP initiative. Results show that program schools achieve an average 95 percent increase in passing scores their first year.
Since 2008, A+ College Ready students have earned more than 20,000 qualifying scores. Since it allows for students to opt out of college courses, it's estimated Alabama families have saved $36 million in college costs.
The course is free but the exam costs $89. However, for A+ college ready AP schools, the state pays for half the cost for each student.
Beyond saving money, every student who passes the AP exam gets a $100 gift card from A+ College Ready.
There are 350 high schools in the state. A+ hopes to add 20 schools every year at least through 2020.