The College Board: An Extremely Profitable “Nonprofit”

By Mirabella Booth

Around this time of year, high school juniors are frantically scavenging money to pay for SAT prep courses, expensive AP guidebooks, the SATs, AP Tests, etc. Profits for all companies are astronomical, but one company, in particular, is making an annual profit of around $160 Million. Which company would that be? The College Board, a “not-for-profit” organization that makes an enormous profit capitalizing on students’ anxieties.

There is an exaggerated importance placed on the SATs and AP exams. Students are often required to take the SATs and certain SAT subject tests to apply to certain schools. Students wishing to earn college credit must take the AP Exam, which the College Board creates. The College Board holds a monopoly over the test-taking industry.

The College Board claims to be a not-for-profit organization which aims to prepare, inspire, and connect students to college and opportunity. But rather than making their services available to all students regardless of economic class, they tackle on unnecessary fees to the already costly test. The company also sells pricey test prep products such as SAT and AP study guides.

If The College Board truly cared about giving an equal testing opportunity to all, they would offer these services for free for those who can’t afford them. The students who can afford these services reap the benefits while the lower-income students are left in the dust.

With over a billion in investments and savings, The College Board has the means to aid low-income students but chooses to pay its President and Executives outrageously high salaries. Its former president, Gaston Caperton, made about $1.3 million last year, over 444% more than the industry average. Its new president has a base salary of about $750,000. Its 23 executives make an average of about $355,751.

Rather than lowering these salaries to make their tests and services more affordable for all, wealthy members of The College Board are living lavish lifestyles while students are barely getting by trying to afford these services. The College Board’s practices give wealthier students even more of an edge over lower-income students. The College Board needs to make some serious changes to promote real educational equity.