Employee Benefits

This is a section of Cooper Union's Financial FAQ. Click here to read the rest of the document.

Why is the Administration examining greater cost sharing for benefits given to Cooper employees?

Cooper Union spends about $9 million a year for employee benefits.  The cost of health benefits is generally shared between employees and employers.  Cooper Union employees pay a median of $40 per month for individual coverage, and $90 per month for family coverage, while Cooper Union as an institution pays the balance, a median of $683 per month for individuals and $1,776 per month for families.  Costs to Cooper have increased significantly over the years.

How do the health benefits of Cooper employees compare with benefits given by other non-profits?

At most non-profit educational institutions, the employee’s share for health benefits is 25-35 percent (v. 6 percent at Cooper) and the employer share is 65-75 percent (v. 94 percent at Cooper).   Cooper pays a far higher percentage of its employees’ health benefits than is common at other non-profits.  Benefits are negotiated with Cooper’s unions.

What is “post-retirement health benefit cost”?

Cooper Union’s audited financial statement for FY 11 shows a $23 million liability to provide future benefits to retirees; that liability is currently unfunded.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.