Now that Cooper Union is Charging Tuition: What Colleges are Still Free?

Dear Commons Community,

Now that the trustees voted to impose tuition at Cooper Union, where can one go for a free higher education.  The New York Times reviewed a number of alternatives:

The Webb Institute, in Glen Cove, accepts just 26 students a year. Students work two months a year in related industries, design a container ship and complete a thesis. Hard work, but the results are hard to beat: Robert C. Olsen Jr., the school’s outgoing president, says the institute can boast 100 percent job placement. Room and board and other fees come to a little over $12,000 a year.

Berea College, in Berea, Ky. was founded 158 years ago by an abolitionist with the goal of providing coeducational, interracial education, ambitious, given the era and the region. Today Berea has an endowment of over $1 billion. That works out to $625,000 per student, or more than 10 times the equivalent figure at New York University.

College of the Ozarks, in Point Lookout, Mo., and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia also offer all students full tuition scholarships; Alice Lloyd College, in Pippa Passes, Ky., does so for those students from Central Appalachia.

Deep Springs College, on a ranch in an eastern California desert, selects just 13 men a year for its two-year program. The only required courses are composition and public speaking, along with a seminar that Brother Kenneth Cardwell, the school’s dean, refers to as “an introduction to how to talk reasonably to people your own age about matters of common concern.”

But for New Yorkers, the closest free-tuition college is also the newest: Macaulay, the honors college of the City University of New York. With a home base in Manhattan but with students spread across eight other CUNY colleges, Macaulay uses the city itself as both campus and curriculum. And on top of waiving tuition for its elite New York students, it throws in a laptop, up to $7,500 for research, travel or internships, a “cultural passport” to many New York institutions, and in many cases housing subsidies, too.

Good to see Macaulay get some much deserved good ink.



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