College Board’s Monopoly: the Price of Higher Education

Students pay exorbitant amounts to a money-hungry corporation

Xander Christou, Managing Editor

Deadlines.

Application fees.

Testing.

The college process is time-consuming and expensive. College applications can define seniors’ fall semesters and can be a stressful, burdening process for many. In addition to filling out forms, short answer questions, and essays, the wallet comes into play more than it seems. The college application process is costly, and the College Board is taking advantage of college applicants to monopolize and monetize the application, extorting the applicants and leaving them no choice but to pay hundreds to a corporation to invest in their futures. This is both frustrating and unavoidable for most, ultimately making it a detrimental part of the college application process.

While college application fees vary on an institution-to-institution basis, all other fees associated with college applications go towards a corporation whose main goal is to make money. The College Board administers the SAT test, AP tests and SAT Subject Tests, the majority of which are required or strongly encouraged by colleges. Students who take the SAT multiple times pay the College Board a sum of $64.50 every time, and then another $12 to report their scores to each institution that requires it. The CSS Profile, a financial aid form similar to the FAFSA form, a government-created form, is also owned by the College Board, who charges a whopping $16 for each school a student wants to send it to. Most private universities require the CSS Profile, and it ironically can add up; in order to receive private funding, students have to pay, adding to application expenses. Furthermore, the CSS Profile does not inform the applicant that there is a fee until after the arduous process is complete which is a demoralizing blow.

The College Board says it is focused on helping their students succeed, but the extreme fees say otherwise. Other evidence of this is the sale of student information to companies, a fact which many students are not aware of. Any company charging for the distribution of personal information to make money does not have students as their highest priority. This is difficult for private individuals who don’t want their information shared, because of the far reaches of the College Board and the sheer amount of personal information they demand. The College Board does offer fee waivers for those on free or reduced lunch, or those who qualify for application fee waivers, but it is still a cruel and inequitable system. Families who will be paying for a student’s college education should not have to jump through these significant monetary hoops to apply for a better chance of being accepted. Recently, schools have been more lenient on score reporting and some allow students to self-report their scores. Select AISD high schools have started offering a school day SAT for all juniors free of charge. While this is definitely a step in the right direction and there is less of an impact on students, the College Board is still making extraordinary financial profits.

The college application process should not be run by a greedy corporation that makes it difficult for students to even apply for financial aid or send test scores without paying hundreds of dollars. It should be a process minimal in costs, handled by the government or a non-profit company whose sole focus is helping students succeed to the best of their ability and not putting financial pressure on families. This would make the application process a lot less stressful, and help students focus on paying for an education instead of abundant, overpriced fees.