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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 14, 2007

UI Belin-Blank Center receives funds for Advanced Placement courses

More Iowa high school students will have opportunities to take Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams thanks to a $400,000 Iowa Department of Education grant given to the University of Iowa Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. The funding was made possible by the Iowa legislature.

The purpose of the grant is to increase student participation in AP courses and exams in Iowa high schools through the support of the Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy (IOAPA), which is part of the Belin-Blank Center. In addition, funds will be used to provide Iowa teachers with opportunities to attend the AP Teacher Training Institute at the Belin-Blank Center.

"We are grateful to the Iowa legislature and the Iowa Department of Education for these funds, which will help ensure that even more Iowa students are prepared for college," said Nicholas Colangelo (photo, top), Belin-Blank Center director. "Our aspiration is to use this grant to continue to increase AP opportunities and to increase the number of teachers prepared to offer AP."

The IOAPA was established to deliver AP courses to high school students across Iowa utilizing Apex Learning online technology and the Iowa Communications Network. AP gives students an opportunity to take college-level courses and exams while still in high school. The IOAPA was established in 2001 with approximately $6 million in federal funds secured by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

Since the beginning of the academy in 2001, an estimated 7,000 students have taken online AP courses. The number of exams taken by Iowa students has increased dramatically from 5,995 in 2001 to 10,776 in 2007. In 2001, only 156 Iowa schools participated in the AP program; this has increased to well over 60 percent, or 231 of Iowa schools, providing AP courses in 2007. There are 386 accredited public and private high schools in Iowa.

"IOAPA is about equitable access to Advanced Placement for all Iowa students, said Clar Baldus, IOAPA project administrator. "This new funding will also strengthen our collaboration with schools, which is essential to the development and sustainability of AP in Iowa."

The state funds will also be used to organize the first ever Iowa Governor's Conference on Advanced Placement, which will be held June 24, 2008, in Des Moines. High school administrators, school board members and Iowa legislators will receive invitations to this conference.

"When it comes to AP opportunities, geography will not dictate opportunity, at least not in Iowa, "Colangelo said, "Our eventual goal is to provide AP courses in every school in Iowa."

For more information on the IOAPA, visit

The UI College of Education's Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development is part of the UI College of Education. For more information on the Belin-Blank Center, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Nicholas Colangelo, Belin-Blank Center, 319-335-6148,; Clar Baldus, Belin-Blank Center, 319-335-6148,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,