Re: Paying for testing?
SBK's testing fees increase as you go along...starting at around $30. The requested donation for shodan is $150. Most of the fees I see here are pretty cheap relative to more popular martial arts. My friend who practices Tae Kwon Do paid $650 for his nidan from the ITF.
If anything, most folks at our dojo pay more than the requested donation, as we are mutually supporting our relatively small organization.