Providing Access to Online AP Courses for All Students

Providing Access to Online AP Courses for All Students

Iowa Online AP Academy, IA

Success Story


Nationwide, approximately 750,000 incoming juniors and seniors are ready to enroll in rigorous academic programs each year. However, low-income students and students of color are not engaged at the same rate as their peers.

College readiness is a strong driver in the state of Iowa, and the state has a long history of making Advanced Placement® courses a priority. Its schools serve nearly half a million students, with the majority of those students living in urban areas where AP® courses are accessible. But almost 70% of Iowa’s school districts have small enrollment sizes. Students at these small and often rural schools had little or no access to AP courses, making access to Advanced Placement courses uneven in the state.

Access to AP courses was limited for a variety of reasons. Some small, rural districts didn’t have enough students to justify the cost of hiring a teacher or could not find a teacher qualified to teach rigorous, college-level AP courses for the few students who wanted to take an AP course. When a district was able to hire a highly qualified teacher, AP course offerings were limited to that teacher’s expertise. This lack of AP options presented a clear disadvantage for rural Iowa students when applying to a college.


Determined to provide all students in the state with access to AP courses, the University of Iowa’s Belin-Blank Center established the Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy (IOAPA) in 2001. Online courses provided through IOAPA provide students attending small, rural schools access to rigorous, online AP courses. Schools areIowa Online AP Academy, IA eligible to utilize an IOAPA course if they are unable to offer that course at their campus, extending AP course access to students who would not otherwise have it.

Edmentum Products
  • Apex Courses
District Profile
  • 600 Students
  • Grades 6-12
  • Average final grade 86.8%
  • Average on-schedule rate: 97.3%