Such a change would be a cultural shift for an institution whose tuition-free education and esteemed programs in engineering, architecture and art have made it one of the nation’s most selective schools, admitting 5 percent to 10 percent of applicants annually, depending on the department.
Peter Cooper, a self-taught industrialist, inventor and social reformer, founded the college with the mission of making higher education available to all; it was among the first to admit blacks, women, students of any religion and those who could not pay, making it need-blind long before the term existed.
So far this idea is just in the discussion stage, but it has raised alarm among students and alumni. Years of dipping into its endowment, selling assets, declining real estate values and heavy spending on new buildings have taken their toll. College President Jamshed Bharucha plans to form a task force to come up with solutions, one of which could be the end of free tuition.