The cost of putting a price on education

This year's price to pay for one AP exam

This year’s price to pay for one AP exam

by Panther Print Editorial Staff

Political forces, students and parents have debated the business aspect of American education for decades, but as thousands of students paid more than ever to take Advanced Placement exams this year, the high price of education becomes more apparent.

The price to take one AP test this year is $91. This amount is set by the College Board, a private non-profit company that is perhaps more well known for offering the SAT exam. After looking into the company’s economic structure, though, its non-profit status seems to be a misleading designation.

College Board holds a sort of monopoly on the standardized testing market, as receiving credit for Advanced Placement courses can only be achieved through the company. A recent president for the company, Gaston Caperton, made approximately $1 million yearly salary, quite a number for the leader of a non-profit educational organization. College Board also declared that 10 percent of their revenue goes to the company, and the corporation’s 23 executives earn about $300,000 a year.

While College Board has been subject to recent scrutiny due to the yearly raise in test-taking price, the company also profits from students through the sale of the PSAT, test prep booklets and CDs, tutoring and charging fees of typically $16 per school and score to send test scores to universities.

College Board and their supporters back the high prices set by arguing that the price is well worth the result of college credit. College Board can also argue that the price for IB credit far outweighs the one for Advanced Placement, but the fact that more and more American colleges are not accepting AP credit from incoming students spurs further questioning of the cost College Board drives.

The problem is larger than just the College Board as the American education system in general makes it easy for businesses to profit from schooling. While there are education subsidies in many other modern countries such as France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, only nine U.S. states subsidize IP and AP prices, knocking off 29 dollars from the AP test price when they do so.

All these factors add to growing criticism of College Board and should justify a real, substantial investigation of the company’s economic morals and activities. One can only expect that this debate will be back when College Board re-raises the price for their Advanced Placement test next school year.