Wisconsin’s Advanced Placement program provides students an opportunity to take college-level coursework in high school, and more took advantage of that last year.

More than a third of Class of 2018 graduates took at least one AP course last May, with participation increasing by 1,055 students and 4,578 exams from the previous year, according to a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction news release last week.

Overall, 22,965 graduates (37.5 percent) took an AP exam last year, with 26.1 percent scoring a three or higher to be eligible for college credit. Of the 71,238 exams taken last year, 24,835 were in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

The good scores could save students millions of dollars, as well.

Wisconsin’s 2018 graduates who earned scores of 3 or higher on their AP exams are estimated to save nearly $43 million in college costs, according to the DPI news release. The calculation assumes three credits for each AP exam with a score three or higher and an average cost for in-state tuition and fees of $302.67 per credit hour.

Doing well on the exams gives our kids a head start on postsecondary studies in our state’s public and private colleges and universities,” said State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor.

Breakdowns by schools and districts were not available from this report.

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at scott.delaruelle@wcinet.com.