A Very Profitable Non-Profit


Art Credits to Nikhita Antil!

Ethan Coyle ‘20

 The College Board is a money-absorbing organization that harms society with its exorbitant prices and lack of competition. Government intervention is vital to revive the standardized testing system and protect high school students from wasting money on a broken system.


 If you are a high school senior, you have likely doled out hundreds of dollars directly into the greedy hands of The College Board, and you probably will pay them even more on the road to college. The College Board’s most profitable venture is the SAT, which nearly all high school students take at least once. Each SAT costs $64.50 if you opt to take the essay, on top of a $20 registration fee. In addition to the actual costs of the test, many students take expensive tutoring as well to improve their test-taking abilities. These prices can accumulate quickly and can place significant financial pressure on families. Moreover, the test expenses disproportionately hurt students from lower-income families because oftentimes they can not afford to take multiple tests and pay for hours of tutoring like students from more affluent families. 


In addition to being financially expensive, the SAT takes an emotional tax on students as well. For a student to work hard in school for eleven years and be told one test will determine their future, it’s absurd. This can become incredibly stressful for most students; however, this stress is unnecessary. A 2014 PBS article titled, Do ACT and SAT Scores Really Matter? New Study Says they Shouldn’t, proves that performance on these standardized tests predict less about a student’s success in college and more about their proficiency in taking standardized tests. As colleges and universities become increasingly savvy to this, more and more are becoming test-optional, a great step towards fixing the broken college application system.


Aside from the SAT, the College Board also offers AP tests for $98 which are crucial for advanced students to demonstrate their intelligence for college applications, and a $12 fee to electronically send your SAT scores to each college! For each individual high school student, these costs can quickly amass to hundreds of dollars and threaten the finances of many families. 


Even with their hands repeatedly dipping in the pockets of nearly all high school students, the College Board still dares to deem themselves a not-for-profit organization. However, a simple Google search reveals they earned $1.12 billion in revenue in 2017! With this revenue, the College Board pays their top executives quite well, making it extremely profitable for people like David Coleman, the president of the College Board who earned $734,000 in 2013. This immorality makes it evident that action must be taken against this monster. Aside from ACT Inc., which administers the ACT, the College Board faces almost no competing organizations that offer services such as the SAT and programs like AP classes. Because of this, the College Board faces no opposition to continuously raising test prices. If the government regulated the College Board in the form of a price ceiling, they could set prices at a more reasonable level, saving families hundreds of dollars and ultimately benefiting society. With lower test prices, families everywhere would save money with the added benefit of evening the playing field for lower income families who previously might not have been able to afford multiple SAT tests. 


In a time when the college admission process immorally profits off highschool students dreams and promotes socioeconomic inequality, the government must act.