The College Board’s mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity, which occurs through administering standardized tests and submitting the results of those standardized tests to colleges during the college-admission process. This process works by registering and scanning student essays and transcripts and singling out the objective and numerical scores, such as SAT scores. This whole process is facilitated by the College Board and relieves colleges of a lot of work, thus causing the College Board to be successful.
The College Board’s success is contingent on the consumer, which, in this scenario, are colleges looking for the easiest and most efficient way to accept new students. The College Board is also extremely beneficial for high schools looking to administer national standardized tests such as the AP exam and the SAT. And in this scenario, the consumer, which the College Board’s success is subject to, is yet again the high schools, not the students who are taking the tests. This, combined with the lack of competition that the College Board has, creates a monopoly; a system where an organization is in possession of the supply of a niche service.
Monopolies are especially harmful when they harm the supposed consumer, which should be high school students, when in reality it’s the school district that uses the service. The severity of the abusiveness of this monopoly is illustrated when expensive and unnecessary fees are put up and help to heavily monetize the entire process. For example, 15 optional fees are provided for one SAT, one being the scores by phone fee which charges an additional $15 after the initial $52 fee for simply seeing your scores on a phone. This shows the greed that the College Board, a non-profit, has.
Elaborating on that point, the College Board had a total revenue of over one billion dollars in 2018 and nearly the same amount spent. Where is the College Board, a non-profit, spending this money? According to AETR, the College Board spent nearly a million dollars directly lobbying and manipulating government officials to start requiring the use of College Board resources, as well as compensating CEO Gaston Caperton $872,061; 444% of the industry average and more than the president of Harvard University.
All of this, combined with the College Board being exempt from federal taxes because they are a “non-profit,” shows the amount of implicit greed the College Board has. Don’t get me wrong, the College Board has scholarship programs that are based on merit and previous test scores, but the way you can access those scholarship programs is through taking their expensive tests like AP exams and the SAT. The only way the cost of the AP and SAT tests can be reduced is through industry competition. Similar to internet service providers, the two main competitors, ACT and the College Board, aren’t necessarily competing, instead raising their prices slowly and thus increasing the revenue they each earn. The higher the demand increases for AP and SAT exams, the more the College Board increases the price.
The College Board isn’t looking to increase student success as their mission statement says, but instead are looking to increase the amount of revenue and total control over the current market even more than they have now, significantly harming students’ success and future.