What can we infer form the end of “tuition free” Cooper Union


College Ends Free Tuition, and an Era

Cooper Union opened in 1859, endowed by the industrialist Peter Cooper with valuable real estate and a mission of educating working-class New Yorkers, at no cost to them. Early on, some students who could afford to pay did so, but no undergraduates have paid for more than 100 years. Along with the nation’s military academies, Cooper Union was among the only remaining schools in the United States that did not charge tuition.

The absence of a tuition bill and the high quality of its instruction have over time changed the college’s identity; today the institution that graduated the architect Daniel Libeskind, the graphic designer Milton Glaser and the artist Alex Katz, and even instructed an inventor named Thomas Edison is one of the most selective colleges in the country. Its three schools enroll about 1,000 art, architecture and engineering students from every location and every station of life, but a budget crisis lately forced the college to wrestle with changes that would once have been inconceivable.

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