The bane of every high schoolers’ existences is standardized testing, and College Board pretty much has a monopoly on that. Thus, in their teen angst, high schoolers are inclined to point fingers and lay blame on the organization and CEO David Coleman. This resentment may be a tad unfounded at times as the Board does do good work. Tests such as the PSAT are used to recognize students of high academic potential through the National Merit Scholars program. Although, in the matter of the SAT and AP tests, the number a student receives summarizing their academic potential is not the largest problem surrounding the college board. What should be addressed is the number on the price tag attached.
College Board claims they are a “not for profit” organization. By definition this means they do not take a cut of the money made from donations or earnings in paying their owners. Further, they are classified as 501(c)(3), meaning the corporation does not have to pay taxes on any money that rolls in.
The organization has a $200,000,000 revenue and after expenses has a profit of $62,000,000. This is a hefty amount of money for a not-for-profit organization. While there is the ACT for those who would prefer that over College Board’s SAT, every AP student has to take their exams through the College Board, for $98 a piece. Thus students in multiple AP classes will be paying hundreds of dollars on top of the $43 for the SAT or $56 to write an essay, too.
Additionally, the College Board has released a report on the “Trends in Higher Education” focusing on the monetary aspects of secondary education. They found that the price of universities have stagnated, but federal grants have failed to keep up with today’s prices, resulting in more money out of pocket for students and their families.
“A college education is an unparalleled investment, but there is no college opportunity without college affordability,” said College Board President David Coleman.
While I commend College Board for recognizing and bringing attention to this problem within the education system in America, I can’t help but feel they are being a tad hypocritical. As mentioned, the Board has a surplus of funds in their pocket, so instead of pointing fingers at the federal level, why don’t they put their money where their mouth is. Yes, they already offer financial waivers for low-income students, but the price of these tests is still a major strain on middle-class families that don’t qualify for these waivers.
Secondary education in America has become a systemic problem dominated by corporations whose only interest is their bottom line instead of educating students, and the College Board fits right in. As a student, my academic potential should not be capped at a dollar amount, and if the College Board truly cares about “connect[ing] students to college success and opportunity” then they will look into making their tests more affordable.