FEC Committee Questions and Answers following the CUAA /FEC Forum

Following the Release of the 2018 Free Education Report, the Cooper Union Community were given the chance to submit questions using this form.

Here are questions and answers for the questions submitted following the CUAA/FEC Forum during the fall of 2017.

Question 1:

Is the FEC considering options to expedite a return to full tuition scholarships for all undergraduates and graduates at the same time?

Answer 1:

The FEC is focused on undergraduate scholarships as its top and earliest priority. Our hope is that, once we have achieved sustainable, full-tutition scholarships for all undergraduates, we can work to address funding for graduate students.

Question 2:

Are undergraduates as a first priority prior to returning full tuition scholarships for graduates?

Answer: Yes, see answer 1 above.


Question 3:

Can the FEC indicate what are the current historical averages for the amounts of the various types of school funding contributions, and what if any stretch goal amounts for various types of funding are being analyzed by the FEC?

Answer 3:

Stretch goals for overall funding will be included in the FEC report/plan. We will be focused on increasing areas that have previously been under-tapped, including foundation and corporate giving, government funding, and major donors, but we need to increase our funding in all areas, including from individual contributors of smaller amounts.

Question 4:

Can the FEC elaborate on any school plans for outreach with New York City, New York State, or Federal government officials in order to find additional avenues, or needed proactive collaboration, for improving the school’s finances?

Answer 4:

Leadership at Cooper Union continues to meet with New York City, New York State, and federal government officials to identify areas in which Cooper Union can continue to contribute to the community and continue to benefit from important public support.

Question 5:

Are there any efforts or plans by the school to engage with public government officials or powerful public organizations or icons in order to facilitate any needed compromises for the two major outstanding school loans if there have been difficult obstacles for getting better financing arrangements?

Answer 5:

We are exploring all possible avenues to a better financial picture for Cooper Union that are responsible and fiscally prudent. The Financial Monitor appointed by the Attorney General of the State of New York commented on the possibility of a refinance/restructure in its February 2017 report.


In response to several questions (listed below) concerning international students and FEC deliberations:

Answer 6: Management and the FEC reviewed various cost and enrollment analyses, including analyses related to international students, the scholarships they receive, and the historical costs associated with recruitment. Any plan the FEC recommends will be a good faith effort, grounded in a number of different factors and dynamics, aimed to restore a sustainable scholarship model in accordance with the the consent decree, the Cy Pres, the Judge’s order, and what we thinks is in the school’s best long-term interests financially and academically.

Question 6:Is the FEC preparing, or can they consider, options that would show the bottom line impact on the school’s budget if:

  • There were no longer any international students at the school.
  • There were international students, who would know about Cooper Unions by its reputation, but there would no longer be the cost of any proactive administrative recruitment of international students
  • There were some allowance for lower percentages of international students at the school than the current percentage of around 18%
  • International students, who were enrolled, would not be given full tuition scholarships, but would need to rely on financial support from their own country and families.
  • There are other options being reviewed by the FEC for enrollment of international students, please explain

Question 7

How is the FEC working with the Academic and Student Affairs Committee, who was tasked by the Board in early 2016 with reviewing and reporting back to the Board and addressing in its committee meeting minutes concerning the advantages and disadvantages to the school and its finances and reputation based on offering admission to international students, who meet admission requirements?    See Answer 6

Question 8

Does the FEC have copies of all meeting minutes from the Academic and Student Affairs Committee since the spring of 2016 in which the topic of international students was addressed, or do they need to check with that committee to make sure they have copies of all of the relevant minutes?   See Answer 6

Question 9

Are there any plans by the FEC or Academic and Student Affairs Committee to raise the topic of enrollment of international students at any Board meeting subsequent to the June 2017 Board meeting and prior to the FEC issuing their progress report to the Board in January 2018?  See Answer 6

Question 10

Are all FEC members aware that the school’s original charter and Peter Cooper’s vision indicated that the school, with its efforts to provide free education for its students “shall be forever devoted to the instruction and improvement of the inhabitants of the United States in practical science and art” and indicated nothing about enrolling students from other countries?