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The Cooper Union announced it will return to full-tuition scholarships for all students.

Artsy Editors
Mar 15, 2018 2:00PM, via Cooper Union

American industrialist Peter Cooper founded New York’s Cooper Union in the 19th century on the belief that education should be “as free as air and water.” The school upheld that vision until 2014, when former president Jamshed Bharucha introduced paid tuition for students, causing widespread uproar. But on Wednesday, after many years of financial turmoil, protest, and resignations, Cooper Union’s Board of Trustees and the school’s president, Laura Sparks, who replaced Bharucha, approved a comprehensive plan that will return the school to its free-tuition policy. The plan, which was constructed by the school’s Free Education Committee (FEC), intends to generate $250 million and gradually increase scholarships until free tuition is returned in 10 years. It also proposes the possible sale of the Stuyvesant-Fish House, a piece of real estate used to house Cooper Union’s presidents and their families. For many in the Cooper community, this return is a major milestone. “The Trustees, a majority of whom are alumni, understand that the decision to begin charging tuition in 2014 deeply fractured the community,” read the board’s announcement. “We are still in the process of healing those divisions. We cannot erase the past, but we must learn from it. The Board bears responsibility for strategic and financial oversight of the school. We know we must do better.”

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