The U.S. Department of Education will give Mississippi nearly $55,000 to help pay the costs of low-income high school students taking Advanced Placement and other exams that could help them earn college credit after accelerated high school classes.
The money comes at a time when the number of Mississippi students taking AP tests has fallen for two years in a row.
More than half of the state's districts either offer no AP courses or have cut offerings since 2008, according to state Department of Education figures. Superintendents say budget pressure has led them to limit advanced classes.
Though the total number of AP courses offered in Mississippi has risen by nearly 45 percent from 2008 to 2013 that increase is accounted for by fewer than 20 of 147 districts.