Subsidizing Test Prep
Journal IssueVolume 24, 2017
Subsidizing Test Prep is a policy proposal that addresses racial and income disparities in collegegoing and college success. Standardized tests are intended to measure college preparedness but have instead become measures of income, as students who can afford higher-quality test prep tend to receive higher scores. In effect, low-income students have comparatively lower standardized test scores and subsequently face lower rates of college-going and college-success. A national subsidy of standardized test prep will try to: 1) mitigate racial and income disparities in college-going and college success, 2) equalize opportunity for lowincome students in college admissions, and 3) help make standardized tests an indicator of achievement rather than income. I argue that the policy is politically feasible and project that it will cost approximately $360 million annually. The subsidy has the potential to be more efficient, in its effect and cost, than similar policies and programs.