The Cooper Union will begin to charge 50 percent tuition of its undergraduate students, beginning with the incoming class in fall 2014, the board of trustees announced today.
The board of trustees voted last week to reduce the full tuition scholarship to 50 percent for undergraduates in the entering class in 2014, board chairman Mark Epstein said in the school's Great Hall today in a livestreamed announcement. Students entering in the fall of 2013 will receive full tuition scholarships throughout their time at the school, he added, and students with great financial need will receive need-based scholarships.
The school, in New York's East Village, has been torn by controversy since fall 2011, when new president Jamshed Bharucha revealed that the board would consider charging tuition of its undergraduates due to a financial crunch. All Cooper students have received full tuition scholarships for over 100 years, supported initially by a 1902 gift from Andrew Carnegie and from continuing income from real-estate holdings. Cooper has about 1,000 undergraduate students in its three schools—engineering, art and architecture—and fewer than 100 in master's degree programs in engineering and architecture.
In April 2012, the college announced that it would begin to charge tuition of graduate students in the architecture school. In September, Bharucha issued a charge to faculty to generate ideas for revenue-generating programs at the school.
Students have staged protests, including briefly locking themselves in at the school's Foundation Building in December 2012.
Some faculty have opposed charging tuition. The faculty of the school of art released a statement in February 2013 saying that "The Faculty of The School of Art opposes the very principle of generating revenue through tuition from academic programs."
Epstein announced the noon meeting to faculty and staff this morning in an e-mail that concluded, "No signs or banners please."