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Overall Score: 77.61

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

New York, NY
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.


Est. full price 2022-2023
% of students who get any grants
Est. price for students who receive aid
Average price for low-income students


Acceptance rate
Median SAT/ACT score
SAT/ACT required?
Undergraduate enrollment

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
% of need met
% of students who get merit grants
Average merit grant

Student Success

Graduation rate
Average time to a degree
4.2 years
Median student debt
Early career earnings
% earning more than a high school grad

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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