As many seniors continue to prep to take the SATs in the coming days and months, I thought it will be fitting to take a look at the College Board's non-for-profit status, which has been at the center of controversy. This topic occurred to me as I wondered how over-priced College Board exams are and how much profit they are surely making from these exams. There is widespread debate over their non-for-profit claim, with many even arguing that the College Board is very much a million dollar for profit business and thus should not receive the benefits associated with been a non-profit organization.
The definition of a non-profit organization states that it is a type of incorporated organization in which no stockholder or trustee shares in profits or losses and which usually exists to accomplish some charitable, humanitarian, or educational purpose. The College Board states on its website that its main purpose is to connect students to college success and opportunity but apparently that label comes at a cost for the students they are suppose to serve. Currently, prospective college bound students have to shell out $47 to take the SATs, $21 for the subject tests and a variety of other high priced unnecessary processing fees. Furthermore, students who don't receive desirable test scores often retake and thus having to pay once again. Even refunds are not immune to some sort of fee. The AP test is also price tagged with a hefty $87 fee along with other unnecessary processing fees.
Founded in 1900 and consisting of 5700 schools, colleges and universities, the College Board is a virtual monopoly in the sense that it is the only avenue for students who want to take the SAT and AP exams, which are vital college admissions requirements. Though some universities, most notably Wake Forest, don't require applicants to submit a SAT score, most colleges do and thus College Board still benefit greatly from the SATs. With this in mind, in 2006, the College Board accumulated over $580 million while only spending a shade less than $530 million, leaving a $50 million surplus. The question now is where does all the profit accumulated go if all the earnings were already used for educational purposes and the maintenance of the organization? The original thought is that the money is being spent on programs that help students, especially high risked students, prepare for college, as stated in its mission, but that falls under the category of the amount of money they spent and thus still leaving their profit a subject of much controversy. Many feel the very people at the top hierarchy of the organization are being paid huge sums, which is unusual for an organization that claims the status of a non-profit.
The College Board's exams are unnecessarily overpriced and the fees associated with it are unjust. As a result, students (especially low income students) and their families have to cut back on certain expenses to save up in order to pay for the exams and preparation courses for those exams. Some school districts
even had to take money from their limited budget in order to have their students take the AP exams for free or at a relatively low price. I feel all the exam fees should be priced at a reasonable amount in such that it allows every student, regardless of their financial status, to be able to afford it. The College Board should also make it free or offer some sort of discount for students in poor school districts. If this is applied and put into effect thoroughly, then their profit would be reasonable (ranging perhaps between $1 million — $2 million) and there would be fewer outcries about the validity of their non-profit status.