Maine is getting a $80,415 federal grant to subsidize the cost of advanced placement tests for low-income students, the U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday.

Last year, 1,557 AP exams were taken by low-income Maine students, according to the College Board.

The grant is part of a nationwide $28.2 million in grants given to 42 states.

Officials said the amount should be enough to cover all but $10 of the cost of each AP exam taken by low-income students, and is aimed at encouraging those students to take the courses.

In 2011, the same federal grant was enough to cover the entire cost of the exams and Maine low-income students did not have to pay anything, according to federal data.

AP courses are offered through Maine schools and the state has an online AP program for students without local access. A student scoring a 3 or above on the exam gets college credit for that subject, which in turn can cut college costs for students.

The funds can also be used for low-income students taking International Baccalaureate exams. There are four schools in Maine that offer IB: Gray/New Gloucester, Greely and Kennebunk high schools and the Middle School of the Kennebunks.

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