Investing in education: An update on the Blanchard AP Scholarship Fund
Fund helps 59 students pass 101 AP exams
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — Marshfield native and Marshfield High School alum Derek Blanchard started the Blanchard AP Scholarship Fund in late 2014 with the goal of helping students afford to take Advanced Placement (AP) exams, which can be costly. He and his wife had personally benefited from AP tests in high school. They both graduated a year early from college due to the credits from AP tests.
Data from the 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017 school years show that Blanchard’s idea has had a major financial impact on students and local families. Fifty-nine students were able to access the fund during these three AP testing seasons, taking 117 exams and earning a passing grade on 101 of the tests taken for an 86 percent pass rate.
Students who qualify for free and reduced lunches automatically have AP exam fees waived. The Blanchard Fund targets students who do not quite qualify for free and reduced lunches but may still struggle to afford an AP exam, which typically costs about $91. Guidance counselors and teachers determine which students, of those who have indicated a need, should receive money and how much.
In total, Marshfield High School students were granted $8,353 from the Blanchard Fund in the past three years. Most of that money, except for a couple of donations from other alumni, came from Blanchard.
Students are usually able to get three college credits, sometimes more, for passing an AP test. According to registrar.wisc.edu, three credits for the fall 2017 semester at UW-Madison costs $1,354.95 for Wisconsin residents. This means that by passing 101 exams, students supported by the Blanchard Fund could have potentially saved more than $136,000 in tuition from the $8,353 investment — a return on investment of over 1,600 percent.
To donate to the Blanchard AP Scholarship Fund, send a check to the Marshfield Area Community Foundation Inc. at P.O. Box 456, Marshfield, WI 54449 with “Blanchard AP Scholarship Fund” written on the memo line. Those interested may also donate online at marshfieldareacommunityfoundation.org.