Following what it called “18 months of intense analysis and vigorous debate,” the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art announced on Tuesday that its Board of Trustees had voted last week to begin charging tuition to undergraduate students, in another move that breaks with the selective New York City college’s long-held custom of offering its students a free higher education.
Cooper Union’s president, Jamshed Bharucha, has said that the institution is suffering from severe financial problems, and the college said in a written statement that the time had come to set the institution on a path that would allow it to “survive and thrive well into the future.”
Under the new policy, the college said it would reduce to 50 percent its customary full-tuition scholarships for all undergraduates beginning with those who enter in the fall of 2014. The college said it would continue to abide by a need-blind admissions policy, and would “provide additional scholarship funding for those with need, including full-tuition scholarships to students with the greatest need.” This year, the college’s undergraduate-tuition rate was $19,275 per semester.
The college said its board had considered a range of options in making the move, mindful of how the full-tuition scholarships were central to the institution’s identity. “In the final analysis, however, we found no viable solutions that would enable us to maintain the excellence of our programs without an alteration of our scholarship policy,” the college said.