The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Higher Education Administration: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Jennifer Jones

Second Advisor

Rachel Friedensen

Third Advisor

Emeka Ikegwuonu

Fourth Advisor

Jason Woods

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

AP Program, educational debt, race, class, sex, credits


This quantitative study examined how race, class, and sex predict the number of college credits awarded through Advanced Placement (AP) exams at a small, private, liberal arts and professional studies university. This study builds on the existing literature which focuses on large, national-level data sets and the AP Program. The existing institutional data points of race, Pell grant eligibility status, first-generation status, and sex were analyzed. The results suggest that Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) students are awarded significantly fewer credits than white students, and first-generation students are awarded significantly fewer credits than continuing-generation students. There was no significant difference between the number of credits awarded to male or female students. This study fills a gap in the literature as it focuses on the inequitable outcome of credits awarded based on AP exam scores along the lines of race, class, and sex. The results of this study help to inform more equitable institutional policies and practices, as they relate to awarding credit for engagement in and completion of AP coursework.


I would like to thank the members of my dissertation committee. They have been dedicated to seeing me through this research project and supporting me throughout the program - Dr. Friedensen, Dr. Ikegwuonu, and Dr. Woods. Special thanks to my chair, Dr. Jen Jones for serving as a strong mentor and support person, knowing just what to say and when to say it. Her superpowers include: making me feel like I am the only student she works with, being authentic, and lifting other women up.

Thank you to the Statistical Consulting and Research Center at St. Cloud State University, specifically Ms. Sari Kroschel for all of her assistance with the analyses for this study. Sari is beyond patient and entertained hours of questions from me. I send my gratitude to Dr. Laurel Davis for her expert feedback on Chapters 3 and 4 and to Dr. Savannah Mussington who shared her practitioner-scholar viewpoint. To my colleagues and mentors at Augsburg University, Karen Kaivola, Monica Devers, Katie Bishop, and Ryan Haaland, many thanks for the extra grace and leadership opportunities you have provided me over the past few years.

I am grateful for all of the students that I have had the honor to work with over the years - you are the reason we do this work. I give a huge shout out to Cohort 11 - it has been a true joy to learn with and from you all over the last four years, how lucky I am to have found such unexpected friends. Many thanks to the faculty and staff at St. Cloud State University – you have always made me feel like I was good enough and worth it.

Most importantly, I want to thank my family. To my mom and dad who always believe in me, even when I take the path less traveled. To my partner and teammate in everything we do, Patrick, and our four children, Finnian, Lillah, Atticus, and Idaia – thank you for inspiring me to be the best version of myself every single day.



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