The Real Monopoly Board: The Victimization of Students by the College Board
by Elias Strizower, Bronx High School of Science
Have you ever applied to college? If so, you probably found yourself in the same situation that many of us have, whether or not to take standardized admission tests. Sadly, this isn’t actually a question because the answer is handed to you; you must take standardized tests in order to apply to a competitive college. Because of this monopoly, standardized test companies can charge any price they want. Being a senior in high school who is (almost) done with the college application process, I have spent hundreds of dollars on the College Board. I have been the victim on countless occasions of their unfair prices, and have found my bank account suffering as a result. It is completely wrong that students are the victims of this monopoly, and College Board should be stopped.
In the East coast, the main standardized test company is College Board, the creators of the Standardized Admissions Test (SAT). College Board has a complete monopoly over the test taking process, and because of this can charge any price it wants on. The average student takes 2 SAT’s and 2 SAT Subject Tests. The price for this given scores sent to 5 colleges is $146. Given a situation that a student took 3 subject test (one of them being language), registered late, and rushed score reporting, the price is $227; a situation that is quite normal. This is not fair. A student shouldn’t have to pay so much money to take a test, preparing is hard enough. In contrast ACT registration prices are quite similar. The main difference is sending scores is free, and the ACT encompasses many subjects so separate ACT subject tests don’t exist.
College Board also has many other services such as AP tests, and CSS Profile for financial aid. The prices of these services have a large effect because many students take AP tests, and most if not all send CSS Profiles. The current price for AP tests is $87 per test, and the price to send the CSS Profile is an initial $25 and $15 for each additional school. This is extremely ironic and unfair because it shouldn’t cost money to prove that you can’t afford college.
I think that College Board should be forced to lower their prices. College Board has an unfair monopoly given that students don’t actually have a choice whether or not to take the test. For this reason, students are forced to pay the absurd fees. Students should be wondering whether or not they want to take a test, not whether or not they can afford it. College Board shouldn’t be able to profit off of students. Although it costs money to run a business, I don’t believe that their prices are a fair reflection of how much it actually costs to do the job. Sending scores online should be free. It doesn’t cost money to send an email does it?
All in all I don’t believe that the practices at College Board are fair. Students have become victims due to College Board’s monopoly, and are forced to pay ridiculous prices.
Elias Strizower is a senior at Bronx High School of Science.