Best Colleges in America 2022
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Overall Score: 77.61

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

New York, NY http://www.cooper.edu/
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, founded back in 1859, is a small college in New York City's artsy East Village that focuses on art, architecture and engineering. It is among the nation's most selective schools, with a 15% acceptance rate and just over 800 undergraduate students enrolled. But getting in pays off: While the cost of tuition is $44,550, every student receives at least a half-tuition scholarship, so the average annual cost of attendance ends up being just over $14,000. Cooper Union alumni also tend to thrive in the competitive art and architecture worlds. Famous former students include Thomas Edison, sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Daniel Libeskind, who designed New York City's new Freedom Tower. One reason for Cooper Union's past popularity, and its high placement on many "value college" lists, was its free tuition policy. But in 2014, the school started charging tuition, a decision that was questioned and criticized by many alumni, faculty and students. The school has said it plans to return to the earlier model in about a decade, with scholarships increasing in the meantime. Cooper Union is also notable for being one of the first institutions to make all of its bathrooms gender neutral back in 2016.

Costs

Est. full price 2022-2023
$70,200
% of students who get any grants
98%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$26,400
Average price for low-income students
$5,060

Admissions

Acceptance rate
15%
Median SAT/ACT score
1420/33
SAT/ACT required?
No
Undergraduate enrollment
840

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
100%
% of need met
76%
% of students who get merit grants
51%
Average merit grant
$24,340

Student Success

Graduation rate
88%
Average time to a degree
4.2 years
Median student debt
$14,000
Early career earnings
$64,160
% earning more than a high school grad
65%

Notes: Students who get merit grants are full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants. Graduation rate measures degree completion within six years for both transfer students and first-time students. Early career earnings are the median earnings for both graduates and non-completers, 10 years after they first enrolled.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson’s, Money/Witlytic calculations.

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