For the first time since 1902, Cooper Union will charge tuition to some undergraduate students starting next year.
Chairman Mark Epstein said in a statement Tuesday that the board voted last week to cut in half the full-tuition scholarship currently afforded every undergraduate student. The new tuition charge will affect the class entering in the fall of 2014.
The scholarship covers an annual tuition currently calculated at $38,500.
Last year, the school started charging tuition for graduate classes. It also asked the college's three schools — architecture, engineering and art — to help tackle a $12 million annual deficit.
A vocal group of students, faculty and alumni has protested charging tuition. Epstein says the school will keep admissions need-blind and provide additional scholarships depending on need.
A statement from Cooper Union's board of trustees on the school's website said it had taken 18 months of "intense analysis and vigorous debate" to arrive at the decision and that it was faced with the prospect of closing one or more of its schools if it did not begin charging undergraduates.
"Being mostly alumni ourselves, we share your sense of the loss of this extraordinary tradition," the statement said.