Housing Update - June 20, 2020

Incoming Cooper Union Students,

On June 20, 2020 President Sparks announced our initial plans for the 2020-2021 academic year. I am writing today to update you on what these plans mean for our housing program, so you and your family can make the choice that is best for you.

We are planning to open our residence hall, provided that state and local officials permit us to do so, and we have no reason to believe right now that it won’t be possible. Our facilities team has been hard at work developing procedures to ensure that our campus is safe and ready to welcome you as we prepare for the fall. Our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our community remains at the forefront of all our planning. With this in mind we will be operating our building under different protocols and procedures, and we want to be sure you understand what living in our residence hall will be like.

To help reduce density, we will be engaging with physical distancing protocols throughout the residence hall, including in our living spaces. Because of this, we will only be offering single-occupancy room assignments. Students will be housed in apartments with 1-2 other residents sharing a kitchen, common space, and bathroom, but each student will have their own individual bedroom, which in most circumstances will be what would normally be a double room, with two full sets of furniture. All students will be charged the double room rate of $13,410 for the academic year, as opposed to the single room rate of $14,610, regardless of their specific room assignment.

We will continue to have both professional staff and student Resident Assistants in the residence hall to support students and to help build community. In order to maintain physical distancing requirements, most of our community-wide engagement activities will be virtual. At Cooper Union, we pride ourselves on our small intimate community.  We will have substantial virtual community engagement opportunities throughout the year for all students, regardless of where you may be living, so all students will have opportunities to get to know each other and start to form lasting bonds of friendship.

In making your decision about housing for the upcoming year, here are some key factors for you to consider:

  • We would LOVE to welcome you here in New York City for the fall! We do want to remind you that, since all classes will be taught online, no one is required to be in New York City in order to study at Cooper Union during this upcoming year. As a first-year student, you will not need access to Cooper Union’s facilities in order to complete your studies this coming year. Depending on your school’s program, you may have access to lab and studio space, and the letter coming from your academic dean will give you a sense of what we expect to be able to make available.
  • Our housing agreements are for the full academic year. Students who decide to come to New York City and sign a housing agreement for a space in our residence hall will be signing an agreement for the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • New York City has done an amazing job of flattening the curve. Should there be a resurgence of COVID cases in New York City, Cooper Union will follow the guidance and direction of federal, state, and local authorities. If we can continue to operate the residence hall, we will continue to do so. Should we be required to close the residence hall, housing refunds would be calculated based on the date of closure. Should the residence hall remain open, you will be responsible for the financial commitment for the full term of the agreement, regardless of whether you choose to move out early or not.
  • To reduce the density within the building and to help facilitate a safe and healthy environment for our residents, guests will be limited during this coming year. With the exception of family and loved ones helping to move in and/or out of the residence hall, we will be unable to allow outside guests into the building during the 2020-2021 academic year. This includes other Cooper Union students who do not live in the residence hall.
  • In concert with federal, state, and local health regulations, students will be required to wear face coverings in all common areas of the building including hallways. Students residing in the same apartment will not be required to wear masks inside their apartment unit.
  • The flow of traffic within the building will also be modified to allow us to focus on health and wellbeing practices. Physical distancing requirements will be in place throughout all Cooper Union facilities including our residence hall. This includes our elevators. Our residence hall is a 16-story building with two elevators and stairwell. Due to their size, elevators will be limited to either one occupant at a time or occupants sharing an apartment.
  • Cooper Union provides access to 24/7 virtual healthcare and virtual / off-site counseling services, but we do not have an on-site health or counseling center. We are in the heart of the East Village, and there is access to a wealth of physical and mental healthcare resources in our local neighborhood and the city at large. We encourage incoming students to evaluate their own personal situations relative to their health and determine whether living in the residence hall is best for them or if they would be better served in an environment where they have more direct control over their living space.
  • For the health and safety of our community, all people entering our facilities may be subjected to temperature checks and may be required to complete a brief written health questionnaire each time they enter a building. This includes our residence hall.
    • Residents of the building who have a documented fever will be required to quarantine in their bedroom until they can be tested for COVID-19.
    • Residents who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate for at least 10 days after they began to show symptoms and until their symptoms have improved and they have been free of fever for at least three days.
    • Residents who were confirmed to have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 but who are not showing symptoms themselves may also be required to quarantine for a two-week period following the date of last exposure.
  • These health and safety measures may be updated or changed at any time to follow best practices and advice of public health officials. We will provide regular updates and ensure that all residents of the building have accurate and up to date information.

We know that many of you have already applied for housing. We also know that the recent announcement about our initial plans for the upcoming academic year at Cooper Union and this additional information about our residence hall may impact your decisions about housing. We are asking that all students complete this brief questionnaire to let us know if you are still interested in being considered for housing this fall.

Please complete this survey by 5PM on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 so that we can assess the need for housing for this upcoming year. As noted above, physical distancing requirements will result in a significant reduction in capacity. We will prioritize housing needs based on geography and other factors disclosed on the questionnaire.

We plan to make housing offers by Thursday, July 9, 2020, and we ask that housing agreements be returned (digitally) by Monday, July 27, 2020.  

We know this is a lot of information to take in. We feel it is important to be as transparent as possible about what our residence hall will be like during the 2020-2021 academic year so you can decide whether this is the right decision for you. We are excited to welcome you to Cooper!

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to our housing team at reslife@cooper.edu.



Grace Kendall, Associate Dean of Students

Chris Chamberlin, Dean of Students

  • 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.