Cooper Union to charge tuition

Just announced this week after a century of free education. suspected mismanagement of the endowment has created a $12 million deficit.
Though mostly noted as an engineering and architecture school, dependance of endowments on the stock market and the general rize in tuition is happening everywhere.

Design is not a high paying profession, what happens when only the wealthy can afford to go into design?

Welcome to the real world.

Design is not a high paying profession, what happens when only the wealthy can afford to go into design?


First of all, plenty of designers I went to school with and have worked with came from lower-middle class backgrounds and are now making a living at designing earning anywhere from $50k to $150k per year. Sure, designing may not put you in the same salary bracket as someone in the C-Suite, but it’s a healthy living nonetheless.

Second, to go back to those other designers I know (and I’m one of them BTW) that didn’t come from a country club background, in order to pay for that expensive design education we had to take out student loans. Gasp! Shock! The outrage!

For Cooper Union to have mismanaged its endowment or whatever and now have to charge tuition simply means that the Cooper kids will just have to do what most other kids have to do - fill out a FAFSA and start applying for student loans. To those kids I say “Welcome to the reality that most of us have lived for quite some time.”

Sorry, but no sympathy here.

I think it’s important to consider this in a historical context, not comparisons to other schools or “the real world,” because Cooper Union was an exception. I personally admire a system in which a wealthy patron decides to found an institute of higher learning and a specific endowment to ensure free tuition for all who attend.

Free tuition ensured a crazily low acceptance rate at CU, which ensured generally high-quality students. It was a really interesting model, and seeing as how it ran that way for longer than most colleges have existed, it’s clear it wasn’t an inherently flawed system. The challenges it’s experienced lately must’ve been novel and must have been new. Perhaps building a $112mil atrocity wasn’t the best idea? Perhaps Wall St. investment gambling crept its way into CU’s portfolio management?

So yes I think it is quite sad. @skyarrow, I’m glad you’re satisfied with the debt-up-to-our-ears status quo, but I’m personally troubled by the potential plutocracy developing in the world of design. It’s not only tuition; we expect students to be well-versed in many software packages, and hopefully have experience on a Cintiq, and build models or RPs out-of-pocket, then take unpaid internships, and then get hired in permalance roles. But hey, being uninsured is part of the “real world, so get used to it kid.”

I think this is really important and thank you for pointing this out and I fully agree. I wanted to post something along those lines as well.

Having been both in institutions that bleed their students dry (Parsons, NY - Undergrad) and who offer a quality education tuition-free (Konstfack, Stockholm - Masters), I can truly say that the tuition free model certainly created a student base which generally speaking was most likley of higher quality.
The passionate and talented ones will always find a way of course but it makes me furious how education is being run in the US.

Actually, right after I left Konstfack, it was decided to only waive tuition for students from the EU. That being said, the amount that now is asked from international students is laughable compared to the tuition at American schools.
However, this already had an impact on application volume and I am worried that it will have a negative long term influence.

Personally, the decision makes me sad as well.