Manhattan's prestigious Cooper Union school is running a budget deficit of $12 million a year, and may have to end its long tradition of allowing all undergraduate students to attend tuition-free.
Some of the nation's top art, architecture and engineering students have long enjoyed maybe the best deal in higher education at Cooper Union.
For 110 years, students have paid nothing to attend. The school has funded operations with revenue from other assets.
But The New York Times reports that the school borrowed heavily to invest in stocks before the market bubble burst, and has struggled with rising costs.
The school's president, Jamshed Bharucha, told the paper there will be "tough decisions'' ahead, because "the model that has been in place cannot be sustained.''