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March 25, 2015

Cooper Union Faces N.Y. Inquiry After Introducing Tuition

New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is looking into how venerable private college Cooper Union ran into the financial trouble that led it to begin charging undergraduate tuition for the first time in its 150-year history, according to The Wall Street Journal.

People familiar with the investigation tell the Journal it involves several financial decisions by trustees of the Manhattan arts and engineering college, among them management of one of its most valuable assets — the land underneath the Chrysler Building, which was donated to the institution in 1902 by the family of its founder, Peter Cooper.

Cooper Union faced calls to sell the property rather than introduce the $19,000-a-year fee for undergraduates, which remains the subject of protests by students, alumni, and faculty and is being challenged in court. Justin Harmon, a college spokesman, said officials “have worked relentlessly to put the Cooper Union back on firm financial footing after decades of losses and budget woes” and that the college will cooperate with Mr. Schneiderman’s probe.