Tuition & Student Fees

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

Is Cooper free now? What is the net price to attend Cooper?

No. For FY 2010-2011, $53,858 was the estimated cost of attending Cooper for undergraduates. Cooper awards full-tuition scholarships valued at $37,500 (academic year 2011-12) to all registered undergraduates.  The estimated net price to attend Cooper is $16,358 (for fees and living expenses). Cooper invites students to apply for financial aid to cover non-tuition expenses.  Approximately 43 percent of entering students apply for financial aid which is awarded depending on need and the size of Cooper’s financial aid budget. Almost one-third (31.6 percent) of the students who apply for need-based financial aid from Cooper for receive it. (Source, U.S. News & World Report).

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Can Cooper assess new student fees to help support the school?

No. With a cash shortfall of up to $22 million projected in FY 17 before the uptick in Chrysler Building ground rents, new fees for Cooper’s approximately 1,000 students would never go very far in plugging the budget gap.  Some student fees have been raised for FY 13 due to inflation.

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Has Cooper Union always offered full-tuition scholarships?

No. Peter Cooper’s intent in founding The Cooper Union was to establish a public institution in New York City for the advancement of science and art and to help educate the working class. The Charter outlines free tuition only for the night classes. In an 1859 letter to the trustees, Peter Cooper describes his intent in establishing the institution. While he was President and on the Board, students who could afford to pay in the Female School of Art were charged tuition so that other students who were unable to pay could attend.

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Do Continuing Education students pay tuition?

Continuing Ed in spring 2012 had 750 students enrolled; these are fee-based programs (for more information, go to

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  • 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.