The College Board Monopoly: Capitalizing the Stress of High School Students

Sophie Jurion, Editor-in-Chief

“Tick tock,” goes your clock. You are spending another sleepless night before your makeup SAT at Franklin high school; your original date was cancelled due to construction at the school. You are a filled with anxiety as you try to remember the quadratic formula. Your alarm finally rings, and you roll out of bed. Then as you arrive to Franklin you discover a sheet of printer paper taped to the South Seattle’s locked front doors: “PLEASE CONTACT THE COLLEGE BOARD.” For the second time in two weeks, The College Board cancels the SAT at Franklin; thus, impacting Washington State high schools’ students everywhere including many Seattle Prep students. This incident is however just the tip of the iceberg of the many issues involving The College Board.

The College Board, the administrators of SAT, AP, and ACT, are a “tax-exempt nonprofit organization” that exist to help students. But this phrase is deceiving because The College Board is extremely profitable and capitalize the stress of high school students.

Every school year, a whopping 3.5 million kids sit for the PSAT. 2.7 million students take the AP tests and 1.7 million students take the SAT. There is no way to avoid The College Board tests, since they are vital to college applications. Therefore, The College Board can use this power to run a monopoly over education and the college admissions systems.

For instance, it costs $46 to sign up for the SAT or $60 to do it with the essay. Signing up a day or two late? That’s an extra $29. Changing the test date, test type, or test location? That’s another $29. Finally, as if the previous extortion wasn’t enough, you must pay $12 for scores to be sent to each college.

While portions of the costs go to paying proctors and facilities, making the tests, and ensuring a good testing experience for the students, most of the money goes into the pocket of The College Board. For instance, according to The Washington Post, The College Board pays their CEO almost $900,000 in salary and benefits. Additionally, The College Board’s 23 executives make an average of $355,271 per year. These high salaries are suspicious: if The College Board truly wished to create “testing equality for everyone,” wouldn’t it pay its executives and CEO less and instead use those profits to lower unnecessary costs for testing?

I believe that The College Board monopoly on high school education and testing needs to be addressed, especially since every Seattle Prep student will encounter this issue at least once in their four years as a high school student. There is not one single way to solve this issue, but for starters, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) need to seriously consider revoking The College Board’s nonprofit status.