The Nest

The College Board’s Monopoly

Adam Aleksic, Editor-in-Chief

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Every year, over 1.7 million students take the SAT. 2.7 million students take over 5 million AP tests. Over 700,000 take the GED. A whopping 3.5 million kids sit for the PSAT every year. All of these tests are administered by the College Board, which means that almost everybody planning on being reasonably successful after high school will have to take one or more of those exams. However, there are some major problems with this system: the SAT can range from $46 to $165, each AP test hovers around $93, the PSAT is $16 per, and the GED is around $35 per module.

Only small portions of these costs go to actually making the test, paying proctors, and ensuring a good testing experience for students. The rest -$98 million of it- goes into the pocket of the College Board, who pays their CEO $1,300,000 and their executives an average of above $355,000 per year. These exorbitant costs are absolutely unnecessary and completely undermine the entire system.

Now, wait, the skeptic may say, aren’t these accusations ridiculous? The College Board is a “tax-exempt non-profit organization” that solely exists to help the students. Well, that phrase is a bit deceiving. “Non-profit” simply means that the organization does not have a profit, but does it really need one when its employees earn so much? The tax-exempt part only helps them take in so much; under the guise of only helping students, they don’t have to pay our government, and can instead take all the returns themselves.

Another counter-argument would be that the College Board is not a necessary pathway; you can take IB instead of AP and the ACT instead of the SAT. While those are run by different companies, they charge the same prices instead of bringing down both costs. No matter what, to get into a decent college, we’ll still have to pay exaggerated price tags to sit in a stifling rubber gym for a few hours. And, anyway, you have to go through College Board for your AP tests.

All the evidence points to a monopoly. Just as in the airline oligopoly, the College Board makes extra services cost more. Want to know which questions you got wrong? That’ll be $12. Want to hear your scores over the phone, because the collegeboard.org servers are down as usual? Another $15. And perhaps the final nail in the casket is how you have to pay $11.25 for scores to be sent to each college, as if the previous extortion wasn’t enough.

What sane “non-profit” gives their CEO over a million dollars a year? What sane “non-profit” charges children more than they need to? What sane “non-profit” tacks on extra prices just to transfer information between computers? Clearly the College Board is not as benevolent as it would have us believe, and it certainly is a monopoly.

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