Nick Tomlin, The Oarsman
The College Board is a huge business that makes money off of students who are trying to attain college credit. AP tests are college curriculum level tests run by the College Board that evaluate your competency in a subject. If you meet their standards, usually receiving a 3 or above on the exams, you can get college credit for that class, depending on the college.
While the College Board is technically a non-profit, they have been accused of being the opposite. Due to the global pandemic causing disruption in classrooms throughout America, many more people became aware of this idea. When most schools stopped in-person education a full two months before the AP tests, many wondered what would happen with their $94.
The last couple of months before an AP test are arguably the most important because that’s when teachers review the whole curriculum to make sure you have a complete understanding. With online schooling simply not being very effective for a majority of students, the College Board had to scramble to find a solution, and they made sure that their pockets would not be impacted. They decided to administer online tests that were 40 minutes to an hour, which is significantly shorter than their normal 2 and a half hour tests. They offered no option of a refund for those who felt unprepared.
To me, this really captured the essence of what the College Board is really about: money. With a monopoly on the market of college credit exams, they don’t have to worry about another company offering cheaper, more accessible testing. This gives them the power to charge you for just about anything you do with them. Want to cancel a test? Fee. Signed up for a test a little too late? Fee. And these fees aren’t minuscule amounts, they are generally $40. It makes you think where the money really goes. Does it cost them $40 to delete your name and info from a database? I highly doubt it.
“There is not really an alternative for AP tests and the SAT, so it feels like you’re being forced to take these tests sometimes,” said senior Judah Braman.
The College Board also hides behind the label of “non-profit”. Do not let this fool you though. In 2017 (the most recent year for data), the College Board made about $140 million. This money goes to pay ridiculously high salaries for their executives. The label “non-profit” is only used for tax-exemption purposes.
“It is unfair that the College Board charges so much for the tests and it gives an unfair advantage to those who have resources and money,” said junior Tiffany Sun.
In a society that praises capitalism, it is surprising that there has been no competition for the College Board thus far. I feel that there should be another certified college exam company that can compete with the College Board to make them drop their prices and be more focused on the students and not the money. This way the College Board is serving students, not stealing from them.