Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cooper Union will start charging undergraduate tuition in the fall of 2014

Facing a strained economic future, Cooper Union officials announced today that it will charge undergraduates to attend classes starting in the fall of 2014.

Here are details via a statement that the school just released:

The following statement from the Board of Trustees of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art was presented by Chairman of the Board Mark Epstein to the student body, faculty and staff of the institution at a meeting today in the Cooper Union Great Hall.

“After eighteen months of intense analysis and vigorous debate about the future of Cooper Union, the time has come for us to set our institution on a path that will enable it to survive and thrive well into the future. Consequently, the Board of Trustees voted last week to reduce the full-tuition scholarship to 50% for all undergraduates admitted to The Cooper Union beginning with the class entering in the fall of 2014.

“Under the new policy, The Cooper Union will continue to adhere to the vision of Peter Cooper, who founded the institution specifically to provide a quality education to those who might otherwise not be able to afford it. Consequently, we will provide additional scholarship funding for those with need, including full-tuition scholarships to all Pell Grant-eligible students. We intend to keep admissions need-blind. Current undergraduates, as well as those undergraduates entering in the fall of 2013 will continue to receive the full-tuition scholarship for the duration of their undergraduate education.

“Our priorities have been and will continue to be quality and access, so that we will remain a true meritocracy of outstanding students from all socio-economic backgrounds.

Read the full statement here.

Read more on this story at The New York Times here.



Laura Goggin Photography said...

Peter Cooper spins in his grave.

Anonymous said...

I still think this is the fault of the past students that didnt gift back some money... Yes I know a lot do, but not enough did...

Sure it was free, but you didnt need to be a dick about it!!!

blue glass said...

before you blame the past students of cooper union for the financial problems of college (for not contributing to the school) take a look at how CU spends/spent its money and the salaries it pays and their real estate and etc. etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable that they squandered the endowment bestowed upon this once great institution. I am personally ashamed for current and future students. I really hope they grandfathered in current students.

For Cooper union grads, your alm mater just dropped fifty spots in the rankings.

glamma said...

Someone needs to audit the sh*t out of that crooked board!!!

chris flash said...

Cooper Union administrators get $500-750,000 per year. EACH. Could THAT have something to do with the deficit? That, and their hyper-construction over the past few years?

The old formula worked for HUNDREDS of years -- they should NOT have been allowed to fuck with it.

WHO will be held accountable????

Anonymous said...

"WHO will be held accountable????"

The future classes, that's who.

vzabuser said...

I'm sure no one really squandered the endowment- Wall St stole during the financial crisis (and continues to steal)- haircutting the Bonds and Paper Assets held by the endowment. Wall St is a equal opportunity theiver.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad and, alas, I suspect marks the beginning of Cooper's slide toward becoming an average school. The administration is to blame for not having the foresight and vision to see that the reason Cooper is a great school is because it is (or, rather, was) basically free. I understand that sometimes schools plan poorly or the economy changes or whatever and, yes, Cooper may have needed to retrench for a few years, to serve fewer students and cut corners, to fund raise, and so on but charging tuition, any tuition at all, will end up making the school average in the long run. I guess it's possible that the alumni and current student body will continue to fight against tuition but, alas, it's a decision that is going to very hard to turn back.

Argh . . . so sad. Cooper was different from all other schools (well, all other schools except the service academies and a few small programs here and there) but now they are competing against every school. Sure, NYC is an asset and sure their history and the existing institutional structure are assets but their No. 1 asset was no tuition. Tossing that away will hurt them academically and, I suspect, financially more than any of the other bad decisions and bad luck that they have run into recently.

Yes, high administrator salaries were a problem but it's more the mindset that comes along with those salaries that caused the damage. Yes, charging tuition will make life easier for a tiny slice of the top level Cooper staff--the people who made this decision--but it will hurt everyone else. Turning the students into consumers--hey, if you charge tuition will the strict attendance requirement disappear?--will help drive the school toward average and change the character of the school.

Why? Oh, why, does everyone have to be like everyone else? Why doesn't Cooper cherish that they _aren't_ (or weren't) like everyone else? Why didn't they say "We are committed to a free eduction, let's make this work, even if we have to suffer a bit in a short run?" They could still offer a great eduction, even if students had to, say, do chores around campus, a few administrators had to be cut, and the physical plant treaded water for a few years. Cooper could have made a strong statement that a great education doesn't have to come with huge price tag. Hold a few classes in a Starbucks, use paper and pencil instead of computers for a few classes, focus the community programs on the community, and so on. The school didn't have to go hippie to be frugal, they just needed to stick to their values and set workable financial goals.

The price of charging tuition--let's say 600 students end up paying $10k each next year, so $6 million--is way too steep for what they will lose.

g whiz said...

I think they saw NYU's huge expansion and money grab and just wanted a piece of that. Very sad yet another unique NY thing that has gone away

Anonymous said...

I think what it really is is that the greedy administrators are trumping up a paper loss so they san get in on the bonanza that is student loan financing. Now that Obama has taken private student loan lenders out of the mix, the money is ostensibly free and administrators are bathing in the loan and document fees otherwise that would have gone to private lenders. This is a play for more money, pure and simple, at the expense of unsuspecting children.

Anonymous said...


The quality of Cooper education relies primarily on the full tuition scholarship. It's what makes it so exclusive, inspires applications by the best potential students in the world, and is the reason why people donate.

Charging tuition goes completely against the founder's vision. There is no longer a reason for it to remain open.

Had I known that Cooper would charge tuition, I wouldn't have transferred there from my previous (also prestigious) school.

This decision not only robs all future students of the true Cooper Experience, but it places a black mark on the histories of all Alumni.

At the very least, they owe it to us to change the name-- the school will never really be Cooper anymore, anyway.