Fees charged by the College Board are becoming a burden on many students and families.
As a non-profit organization, the College Board ought to be either a private foundation or a public charity. According to the Nonprofit Quarterly’s Rick Cohen, the College Board, which describes itself as “a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity,” generated a profit of $35.67 million in 2011. This money comes from registration fees from the SAT Reasoning, subject tests, and Advanced Placement (AP) tests, all of which are administered by the College Board.
These tests, listed individually, may not seem excessively expensive. However, the total amount is surprising if estimating the costs that can be incurred by academically-motivated students. If a student were to take the SAT three times, his total would be $153. If he also take three SAT subject tests, two normal and one language, his total in testing fees jumps to $276.50. If the student then takes eight AP tests, the number of tests often taken by high-achieving students, his total cost jumps to $988.50, as currently charged by the College Board. When individual schools’ additional fees are added, the student’s family would pay over $1000 just in taking standardized tests.
“After this year, I will have taken five AP exams, one full-length SAT, and four subject tests,” South Pasadena High School junior Jordan Xiao said in an interview with JSR. “I think the financial burden depends on how many tests you take, which is obviously different for every person, but it can get straining when the expectation is to take more tests than fewer.”
Yet, when emailed by J Student Reporters regarding College Board’s use of its excess capital, the organization did not respond.
However, according to Slate’s Chadwick Matlin’s article “Taking the $ATs,” some of the excess capital pays for the salaries of its executives, such as president Gaston Caperton. The article mentions that in 2006 Caperton was paid over $600,000, while the senior staff members made an average of over $200,000.
If College Board’s expenditures are made more transparent and accessible to students, the students may have faith in the organization.