College Board: A “Non-Profit” Monopoly

College Board: A

Kristin Cowden, Writer

The College Board is a non-profit organization. Yet, why does it have such a monopoly on education? According to the College Board’s own definition of a monopoly: “A monopoly is a market structure where one company or seller has complete control over the market, and has very limited to no competition, often resulting in high prices and low-quality products.”  

Each AP exam costs $94. The SAT and ACT as well cost $52 but $68 with the essay. So, if you were to take (for example) 1 AP class exam, the SAT and ACT with the essay, you’d be giving the college board $230. That’s without the cost of prep books you need as well to prepare. Because of these heavy fines, the College Board’s executive salaries range from $300,000 to $500,000 a year. The reason why they are allowed to charge this much for testing, is because the College Board is the only organization to run SAT, ACT, and AP testing, and despite there being other organizations like the College Board, these tests are required for most students to get into college or even graduate high school. This is the part that makes the College Board a monopoly.  

In an interview with an anonymous student at Dakota high school, their opinion on the College Board and AP testing is this: “I have the privilege to be able to take AP classes and get a head start towards college. However, others do not, as they can be withheld from this opportunity due to financial costs...” They also stated that “I learn lots of content that is supplied through advanced material. However, I believe the class prepares me more for the test than college.”  

According to the College Board’s mission statement: “The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity.” Yet, the college board is more of a monopolistic business rather than a generous service, not because it provides a reasonably-priced service, but rather because it provides what colleges want, leaving students no choice. The College Board’s main customer is not students, but rather schools 

In conclusion, the College Board’s AP economics also states that “…Monopolies can cause market failures when they use their market power to engage in behavior that restrains competition.” With this being noted, it is also proven here that the College Board’s monopoly on education does exist