Cooper Union’s spring semester may have ended last week, but some students are still in school—specifically, in President Jamshed Bharucha’s office. The students, who began occupying the seventh floor of the brownstone Foundation Building on May 8, oppose the board of trustees’ recent decision to charge tuition for the first time in 150 years. Administrators state that the school’s longstanding financial problems leave them no choice.
“We do it only because the institution was hurtling toward bankruptcy,” said Dr. Bharucha, seated in an empty classroom on the second floor of the school’s controversial 41 Cooper Square building, a $166 million, Thom Mayne-designed structure that went up in 2009. “There’s a misconception that there are other ways that are less draconian.” Currently, Cooper covers the $38,500 tuition cost for all students. Starting with the class entering in 2014, 25 to 30 percent of students will pay about $19,250, while 25 to 30 percent will continue to receive a full scholarship. The rest will pay on a need-based sliding scale. Read More