This has been in the works for more than a year but New York’s Cooper Union, which founder Peter Cooper said would be as “free as air and water” when he helped create the institution back in 1859, will now charge tuition.

According to a statement by the school:

After eighteen months of intense analysis and vigorous debate about the future of Cooper Union, the time has come for us to set our institution on a path that will enable it to survive and thrive well into the future. Consequently, the Board of Trustees voted last week to reduce the full-tuition scholarship to 50% for all undergraduates admitted to The Cooper Union beginning with the class entering in the fall of 2014.

Faced with a $12 million annual budget deficit due to declining (or, arguably, poorly invested) endowment revenue, the school was essentially faced with the decision to either reduce the size of the school or charge students tuition.

Students who start at the school in 2014 could pay as much as $19,000 annually, though the institution will still offer a free education for about 25 percent of students, at least for the 2014-15 school year. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer