Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Does anyone else think ETS is obscene?

  1. Jun 5, 2010 #1
    The testing monopoly that is ETS charges $160 to take the general exam. On top of that, if you need to send you scores to more than 4 institutions, be prepared to pay $23 per institution. That's right... $23 to mail a slip of paper from a computer database, and there's no quantity discount.

    I'm curious why this monopoly is allowed to charge what it charges, with no competition.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2010 #2

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I think you just answered your own question.
     
  4. Jun 5, 2010 #3
    Monopolies are suppose to be regulated or competition is suppose to be introduced. So no, I did not answer my own question.
     
  5. Jun 5, 2010 #4

    TMM

    User Avatar

    That's a naive assumption.

    Often a monopoly is the most efficient configuration of firms. This can occur when either the entry cost is high, the profits low, or especially in economies of scale, where returns increase much faster than costs of expanding.

    Regulation is hard to do correctly. The most obvious types of regulation (taxing expansion, breaking up firms, etc) often lead to the monopoly acting even more greedily, and worse, refusing to improve its products because it would only benefit the consumer.

    But anyway, yeah, **** ETS.
     
  6. Jun 5, 2010 #5
    ETS is ETS.org?
     
  7. Jun 5, 2010 #6
    Are these the same guys as the CollegeBoard? SAT / AP etc? If so, I'd say that's definitely a monopoly. And yes, it is quite obscene to charge that much. As I remember, even the AP graders are volunteers, so it shouldn't cost that much per test as it does. And who does the GRE? Isn't that ETS too? There's no escape....
     
  8. Jun 6, 2010 #7

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    First and foremost, ETS does have competition, most notably ACT Inc. ACT successfully competes against ETS in the much larger college entrance exam market. If they wanted to compete in the grad market, they certainly have the ability and resources. I suspect that they have concluded they will lose too much money at it: in the last decade or so ETS has reduced the number of subject tests from 17 to 8.

    Second, ETS is a non-profit, which means that every dime that goes in and goes out is accounted for - IRS Form 990 lists it all. In 2008, they took in $835M in "program services revenue" - i.e. fees for tests, reports, etc. In that same time, they spent $889M on "functional expenses" - i.e. producing tests, reports etc. One might argue that the fee structure doesn't match the expense structure - i.e. maybe they could charge $5 per report, but then charge $250 per test.
     
  9. Jun 6, 2010 #8
    Yes, I would agree.

    But, it remains that these costs are still substantial amounts to the student population, profit or non profit.

    I think, instead (maybe this is too naive) that any college requiring SATs or SAT IIs, GREs, or any other ETS product should pay ETS a certain amount to fund these tests. But then, that's silly because the schools will just pass off that amount in tuition hikes and what not.

    EDIT: I also think there may be inefficiencies in ETS driving these prices?
     
  10. Jun 6, 2010 #9

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I think you should just suck it up.. there are just certain things in life you have to live with. For example, $50-$100 just to apply to a university?? It's not even a test or service!

    Then you can look outside of acedemia... wedding dresses cost how much? Why do I have to pay so many people commissions if I buy a house? There are products/services in life that have such a small market or are used so infrequently that they practically are forced to charge 'obscene' amounts or they couldn't exist.
     
  11. Jun 6, 2010 #10

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    And to immediately shoot down this argument if one were to make it... imagine if you wanted to retake the test! I would imagine the number of people who take the test more then once far outnumbers the number of people who send their scores to over 4 institutions. Even though an equivalent increase in the test cost would probably be minor, I think you annoy fewer people with just a high extra report cost.
     
  12. Jun 6, 2010 #11
    Yeah, its well within anyone's God-given capitalist right to charge whatever they want for their products. But just because you can charge exorbitant amounts, should you?

    To do so, is obscene. At least that's my interpretation of the OP's mind.

    Yeah, it costs a lot to apply to schools, and for ETS testing, but should it unnecessarily be so?
     
  13. Jun 6, 2010 #12
    Admissions needs their salaries too :)

    From the perspective of a consumer of these tests, I quite agree it's overly expensive. I've been looking into those actuary tests -- about $200 for each! However, I neither know the details of the industry nor have the power to change anything, so the only choice I have is to suck it up and hope later profits make up for the initial investment.
     
  14. Jun 8, 2010 #13
    Evil Testing Serpent :)
     
  15. Jun 8, 2010 #14
    Ha, I think the complete opposite. Its the consumers responsibility to advocate for themselves. You shouldn't just bend over and take it - you should be mad, you should voice your discontent, you should do everything you can to spite and deny the corporation your money. The best regulation for a free market is a vigilant consumer, something we very much lack unfortunately. I would suggest losing the 'just deal with it' attitude and stand up for yourself, even if it is in a small way.
     
  16. Jun 9, 2010 #15

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    While I love your sense of consumerism... it's still a non-profit, akin to making demands at your local soup kitchen.
     
  17. Jun 9, 2010 #16
    I wouldn't think non-profit status alone makes it ok, or equivalent to a soup kitchen. Though in this case I dont know.
     
  18. Jun 9, 2010 #17

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Academic, you are free to include with your application that you object to paying this much money on principle and refuse to take the test. The university is free to react to this statement any way it wants to - positively or negatively.
     
  19. Jun 9, 2010 #18
    Haha. That'd be risky business.
     
  20. Jun 9, 2010 #19

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Freedom is a beautiful thing.
     
  21. Jun 9, 2010 #20
    I really don't think non-profit exists, except on paper.

    As far commenting to an admissions committee about the unfairness of the GRE testing fee, I'd recommend against that. Structured education is not a brave enterprise. It exists for those that like lines, and for those that enjoy staying between said lines.

    If you're someone that likes to stir the pot, fight injustice, and tear down illusions, then put away any ideas about being accepted by the masses.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Does anyone else think ETS is obscene?
Loading...