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Rank: 39

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

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 16% acceptance rate and fewer than 1,000 undergraduate students enrolled, but getting in pays off. Cooper Union's graduation rate is about 88%, and grads tell PayScale their early-career salaries average about $68,100 -- that's 16% higher than expected based on the student body. 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.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE
FALL 2020 PLAN: All courses are online, but some students were able to live on campus. All students returning to campus are required to submit to testing and contact tracing.
costs
Est. Full Price 2020-2021
$67,900
% of students who get any grants
100%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$29,900
Average price for low-income students
$8,600
admissions
Acceptance rate
16%
Median SAT/ACT Score
1400/33
SAT/ACT Required for Fall 2021?
no
Enrollment
850
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
Average student debt
$15,000
Average salary within 5 years
$68,100
% earning more than $28,000
80%
key deadlines
Early decision application
Nov 1
Regular application
Jan 8

* Share of full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants.

* Full price of attendance includes on-campus room & board fees, which may not be applicable to all colleges' reopening plans this year.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, Money/American Institutes for Research calculations, Opportunity Insights.

coronavirus update

FALL 2020 PLAN: All courses are online, but some students were able to live on campus. All students returning to campus are required to submit to testing and contact tracing.

* Share of full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants.

* Full price of attendance includes on-campus room & board fees, which may not be applicable to all colleges' reopening plans this year.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, Money/American Institutes for Research calculations, Opportunity Insights.

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