Cooper Union to Send Out Tuition Bills in 2014

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cooper Union (Daniel P. Tucker/WNYC)

For the first time in more than a century, the Cooper Union will begin charging all its students tuition. Undergraduates will be expected to pay about $20,000, which is half the tuition to attend the college.

Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha said the school could no longer delay the inevitable. "The institution, for too, long has tried to maintain its full-tuition scholarship policy, but with actions that in retrospect have proven to be temporary," he told WNYC's Amy Eddings.

The decision was highly controversial and the vote by the trustees was delayed several times.

The board of trustees issued a statement on Tuesday acknowledging that the no-tuition policy has been central to the school's identity, but said that growing deficits made it impossible to continue. The school is projected to have a $12 million annual deficit.

“We appreciate that these decisions are difficult for everyone to accept,” the board’s statement read. “We look forward to working together with all of you to building a future that will ensure the preservation of Cooper Union as a great educational institution that remains true to Peter Cooper’s founding principles.”

Founder Peter Cooper wanted to create an institution that provided a quality education for those who might not otherwise afford it. 

“Education is a human right and nobody has the credibility to make that argument better than the Cooper Union,” said architecture professor David Gersten. “And the fact they just squandered that for some cash flow deficit is absurd.” 

Students with the greatest financial needs will continue to pay nothing.

The new rule won't go into effect until the incoming class in 2014. That means current undergraduates and those starting this fall will continue to receive full-tuition scholarships for the rest of their studies. 

Listen to WNYC's Amy Eddings' full interview with Jamshed Bharucha, president of The Cooper Union, above.

Christine Streich contributed reporting.


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Comments [4]

Deborah Mosichuk

There were many, creative suggestions to generate income offered to the president and the board of trustees, none of which were addressed or even acknowledged. The money spent on the search and hiring of the current president was money poorly spent. The president should be a Cooper alum with a true interest in the original mission of Cooper. This man does not have that. And he was at his last job for a short period of time. The reason? You figure it out. There are twenty two trustees that I could find a physical address and to whom I sent a two page letter with ideas and suggestions. I also sent the letter to the president. No one acknowledged or addressed my ideas. I received a thank you post card from one. How hard did they look at ideas not their own? Why are there so many trustees? How much do they make? What have they done to generate income for the school? What real ties to they have to Cooper? This administration made an irresponsible decsion here. How much will it cost to implement tuition and keep it going? How long will it be before they declare a need to increase tuition? This is the only school where student talent was rewarded. This administration needs to be replaced now.

Apr. 25 2013 06:08 PM
alexandria from NYC

This is absolutely INFURIATING. The administration, the president, the board of trustees need to seriously wake up and realize how much of an anomaly, and an INCREDIBLY SPECIAL one at that, that COOPER UNION is and HAS ALWAYS BEEN, as PROTECTOR and BASTION of FREE EDCUATION.
The board of trustees, and those who are looking to get it out of the mess that it is in need to rise to the occasion and benefit from the radical notion that Peter Cooper HIMSELF founded 150 years ago! There are so many people just waiting to put their time, effort, and passion into the value that comes with a free education. Isn't that the American dream? The ability to have the education you deserve, cultivate your mind, speak freely, learn freely, think freely??? It's time to TAKE THIS TO THE WHITE HOUSE: The Cooper Union can IN FACT, lead the revolution in American Higher Education today with the principle that it has upheld for the past 150 years. If the president and the board of trustees can defend The Cooper Union and begin to lead with the same power that a free education gives its students, I assure them, OTHERS WILL FOLLOW.


Apr. 25 2013 02:29 AM
jana leo from new york

I have a suggestion to made:

Cooper Union offers architecture among two others disciplines; I am
pretty sure that one of the reason Cooper Union is in bad shape,
financially is the cost of the New Building and not only the 2008
crisis; It is architecture what created the problem; the no need for a
fancy building for the only free quality architecture degree. Cooper
Union should get ride of the new building instead of imposing
tuition to students.

Students can relocate in the foundation building and the new building
can be rented for visitors and tourists. The rent will cover students's fees.

Keep fancy architecture to bring income, keep austere architecture to
grow through a free program!

I was a teacher at cooper union for seven years; I was against students
having to pay tuition; after a few years my contract wasn't renewed.
Best regards
Jana Leo

Apr. 23 2013 11:12 PM
Robert from NJ

I am a 1975 graduate, Physics. This major was eliminated during the last financial mess that occurred when the Foundation Building was renovated in the early 1970s. The same crap happens again, the school does a new building, and lo and behold, time for tuition. In 1973, the solution was to sell Coopers only green space, eliminate majors, fire tenured faculty, and threaten tuition. Jump ahead to 2013, same situation, new building and financial mess. Deja vu all over again (quoting Yogi Berra). it took me 25 years before I considered donating to cooper after the last mess up, it will happen again for many.

Apr. 23 2013 08:15 PM

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