College Board is a non-profit organization that owns the SAT test, which many students take in order to apply for colleges and AP exams. They usually charge students to use their services, prompting question over whether College Board can really be considered non-profit.
According to the College Board website, it costs $49.50 to take the SAT without an essay, $94 for an AP exam, excluding AP Seminar and AP Research Exams, which cost $142 each. Furthermore, College Board banks on students’ desire to pass these exams by selling study materials, typically costing $20 or more.
While these materials are certainly cheaper than taking a college course at full cost, it’s difficult to see how College Board can be considered a typical non-profit. Many programs go towards earning money and controlling nearly all the steps to get into college.
According to an article published by the Washington Post, College Board created a program that would “rate” students for college admission officers, called the Environmental Context Dashboard. The program would rate students on a 0-100 scale based on demographics in the areas they live in, completely ignoring their individual accomplishments and disadvantages. After much criticism, College Board withdrew the program and created “Landscape,” a similar program that was altered from the original and is now available to students. Still, it’s worrisome to see College Board make students seem more like numbers than people.
Furthermore, UWIRE reported that College Board had been selling student information to scholarship programs, colleges and universities for years. While the student search program is completely voluntary and is claimed to benefit students, there is concern over whether they’re being treated as “commodities” and ways for College Board to profit even more.
With instances like these, College Board is starting to feel more like a monopoly than a non-profit. Not only does it distribute both AP exams and SATs at the cost of students or schools, but College Board sells study books to students, charges to send scores to universities and has gotten its foot in the college admissions process as well. They even go as far as to sell student information for 47 cents per individual, further profiting off of those seeking an already expensive college education.
While Steinbrenner has the privilege of giving students free AP exams and one free SAT to all juniors, this is not extended to all public schools in Florida; an unfortunate consequence for less affluent citizens who would greatly benefit from the economic relief, which obtaining such exams could provide later in college.
Admittedly, College Board does have “fee waivers” for low-income students; however, it is very difficult to meet these standards. Notably, the requirements are so low that families wouldn’t be able to afford rent in Florida to meet them. When students do meet these standards, they face additional obstacles, such as obtaining the resources to study for the SAT.
College Board still does provide many benefits for students, including giving scholarships and potentially helping individuals save money later. However, they should do more to help poorer students receive the aid they need. College Board certainly has the resources to do so, according to their 2018 990 forms, College Board made $1,067,701,847 in one year alone.
This is cause for much concern and should be addressed by the College Board as higher education becomes more difficult to achieve and more and more individuals start to become wary of the organization’s intent.
Tatiana Gonzalez // Staff Writer