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Cooper Union plans to bring back free tuition for all undergraduates

Cooper Union has come up with a plan to provide full undergraduate scholarships to all its students in the near future.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   10-08-2018

Cooper Union plans to bring back free tuition

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science has announced a return to full-tuition scholarships for all undergraduate students.

Based in New York City’s East Village, the college offers courses in arts, architecture and engineering. In 2014, Cooper Union changed its original tuition-free policy and started offering only half-scholarships to students. According to Cooper Union President Laura Sparks, "The model wasn't sustainable at the time.” Thus, the decision was made keeping future viability in mind. The move was met with protests and followed by a decline in the number of applications.

"It's really clear that families are making this decision with economics as a driving factor," Sparks told media. "That's in part why it was so important to the board to retain a scholarship model that would apply to all students."

Now the college board has devised a new plan, which states that over the next ten years, Cooper Union must come up with $250 million. This will allow the college to offer full-tuition scholarships for every undergraduate student.

"We have ambitious financial targets to meet in each of the next 10 years to realize our goal of returning to free," Sparks said. "If we exceed the financial targets in any given year, we may be able to accelerate the plan; if we don't meet the targets for any number of reasons, such as an economic downturn, we have built-in guardrails that allow us to slow the plan if necessary."

Affordability is a key concern for students whether domestic or international. More and more students and parents need loans, scholarships and other financial aid to be able to graduate from college.

President Sparks is confident that it will correct the decline in number of applications, "I do think it could result in more students looking at Cooper.”

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