Those SATs and APs Were Hard – To Afford

Benjamin Tonelli:

With college-admission deadlines quickly approaching, my debt to the College Board keeps growing. Two SAT tests, five subject tests and six Advanced Placement (AP) tests later, I am ready to report my scores through the College Board website to the 10 colleges to which I am applying. On top of the total $102 I paid to take the SAT, $114 for the subject tests, and $534 for the AP tests, the College Board now demands $11.25 for each electronic submission of the test scores to the schools on my list.
It seems odd that the College Board–a nonprofit whose CEO, David Coleman, was pulling in $750,000 as of 2012–cannot send a few numbers over the Internet for just a dollar or two, or maybe even free. Instead, I am shoveling out another $100-plus just for electronic submissions, another contribution to the swelling pockets of the College Board (annual revenue in 2011-2012: more than $750 million).
With almost complete control over the business of pre-college standardized testing, the College Board squeezes every penny it can from high-school students–or their parents. The company charges at every turn while attempting to “connect students to college success,” loading on additional fees for every missed deadline and “rush” delivery of electronically sent scores, scores that apparently otherwise take weeks to navigate the labyrinth that is the World Wide Web.
The College Board should behave more like the nonprofit it claims to be. Lowering the cost of the SAT would encourage more students whose parents make modest incomes to retake the test and compete against students from higher income households who often take the test upward of four times, aiming for higher scores. (I took the test twice.)