Wilsonville High senior Katie Trese takes a look at the College Board and the grip it has over the college application process

There are a lot of twisted organizations in this world. However, there is one that never ceases to send shivers down my spine: the College Board.

For those that aren't familiar with it, the College Board is an organization whose primary claim to fame is Advanced Placement classes and the SAT — just a few of my favorite things. They'll tell you they're a "mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity." This sounds great, but in reality it seems their nonprofit mission is to make money.

In the past century, the College Board has worked its way to be an integral part of every college-bound student's life. There's virtually no way to go to college and never come in contact with the College Board, and that's exactly what they

want.Katie Trese

With the race to college becoming more and more competitive, students are pushed to take more AP tests, retake the SAT more times and prepare with the PSAT. The College Board is reaping the benefits from this; from 2009 to 2010 their revenue increased $12.6 million, shooting them up to $65.6 million annually according to the Huffington Post. With several executives earning salaries over $200,000, the term "not-for-profit" seems to be taken loosely.

These numbers aren't surprising to me. A single AP test costs $92, the SAT costs $57 (not including subject tests which are highly encouraged), and sending scores costs $12 (for each school). Although these are their primary ways of earning money they also offer other services such as their own version of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, that costs $25.

In order to maintain their role in public education, the College Board has spent about $1.5 million lobbying to legislation. It has paid off too. My sophomore year I took the PSAT and didn't pay a penny, as it was completely subsidized by the state.

All of this has helped turn college education into a lucrative business. For students, the College Board is the unwanted but necessary middleman between high school and a higher education. They're the college mafia of sorts, and there's little we can do about it.

I have found one way to demonstrate my defiance. Call me spiteful, but you can trust that I'll keep checking the little box prohibiting the College Board from using my tests as examples.

Katie Trese is a senior at Wilsonville High School.

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