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Follow the Money

Total Registration, at the request of schools, administered two surveys the summer and fall of 2018 to gauge AP Stakeholders' (Administrators, Coordinators, Teachers, Students, Parents) thoughts on the College Board's planned, mandated Fall AP Exam Order Deadlines, Late Fees and Cancellation Fees. Across the board, AP Stakeholders agree the changes will not be beneficial to students, parents or schools. Furthermore, a large percentage remarked that the changes only seem to benefit the College Board. When asked "Why is the College Board making this change" more than 41% responded that the reason was for the College Board to make more money (see the survey results here). That begs the question: How much money does the College Board have, make, and spend? Do they need more money in order to implement the new changes. Below are the results of our research. All information was acquired through publicly accessible documents.

$1,313,429,461

In 2019, the most recent audit available, the College Board had $1,313,429,461 in Cash and Investments.  They hold over 1.31 BILLION dollars that can be used to finance any College Board related activity.  

In fact, the past 10 years of IRS filings indicate that the College Board's profit as ranged from 4% to 14%.  Which means, that after all expenses (salaries, exam materials, grading, etc.) the College Board keeps between 4 to 14 of every 100 dollars it takes in.  How does it use the extra cash?  Investments.   In 2019 the College Board made $38,708,672.00 in investment income alone.  Remember, as you review the information in the table below, the College Board is designated as a 'Not-For-Profit' by the IRS but has made a "profit" for all years listed.

Here is a brief summary of College Board finances:

Tax
Year
Revenue Expenses Profit Cash +
Investments
# of AP
Exams
AP Exam
Fee
2022 - - - - - $96
2021 - - - - 4,578,302 $95
20201 $946,156,000 $846,662,000 $99,494,000 $1,530,987,000 4,751,957 $94
2019 $1,107,897,207 $1,049,304,734 $58,592,473 $1,313,429,461 5,098,815 $94
2018 $1,073,678,672 $979,521,189 $94,157,483 $1,152226,448 5,090,324 $94
2017 $1,067,701,847 $927,784,350 $139,917,497 $1,111,851,062 4,957,931 $94
2016 $942,621,972 $905,054,378 $37,567,594 $885,062,957 4,704,980 $92
2015 $915,776,813 $838,417,778 $77,359,035 $843,049,505 4,478,936 $91
2014* - - - $833,083,475 4,176,200 $89
2013 $840,672,990 $741,778,125 $98,894,865 $832,905,923 3,938,100 $89
2012 $795,817,602 $740,561,685 $55,25,5917 $610,429,516 3,698,407 $87
2011 $758,985,414 $713,755,580 $71,675,145 $560,176,503 3,456,020 $87
2010 $720,650,408 $648,975,263 $65,634,741 $444,339,911 3,213,225 $86
2009 $659,809,288 $594,174,547 $53,345,767 $426,570,867 2,929,929 $86
2008 $623,039,302 $569,693,535 $39,127,848 $350,695,990 2,736,445 $83
2007 $621,042,351 $581,914,503 $55,108,238 $393,245,000 2,533,431 $83

1Data from a May 10, 2021, Price Waterhouse Cooper Audit (https://facdissem.census.gov/Main.aspx, Search for Single Audits, Auditee Name - College Board). This infromation will be updated when the 2020 Form 990 is available.

* Change in Accounting Year from Jul-June to Jan-Dec

Notice a trend?

The College Board has increased cash & investments for 13 out 14 years as reported above (2008 is an exception, but if you invest you understand why).  But don't just take our word for it, check out the College Board's 990s (an annual information return that most 501(c)(3) organizations claiming federal tax-exempt status must file yearly) on Pro Publica.

College Board's Revenue

College Board's Profit

College Board's Cash + Investments

History - # AP Exams & AP Exam Fee