With the news earlier this year that The Cooper Union in New York will, for the first time in 155 years, begin charging tuition fees to students in 2014, the existing students at its Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture are taking steps to ensure that it stays true to the meritocratic principles on which it was founded. To achieve this, they have launched the One Year Fund, an attempt to crowdsource $600,000 in order to cover the tuition fees of the incoming students in 2014.
Read more about the One Year Fund, and how it fits into the students' larger aims, after the break.
From their campaign, it is clear the students feel that not having to pay tuition is fundamental to the nature of Cooper Union, and gives an important aspect to their education as architects. "Charging tuition adds money to the equation and changes the relationships that are already in place", says one student. In their press release, they state "it is imperative to ensure that future students are educated under the same meritocratic conditions as they are today and have been for the past 155 years."
Raising $600,000 in 40 days may be an ambitious goal, but it is a vital step in preserving what they see as a vital element of the education of future students. This first step is a temporary solution, simply aiming to provide "one full year to develop and put into action another financial model to preserve the Cooper Union and its fundamental principles."
If the principle of a free, meritocratic education for architects is an idea you would like to support, you can donate on their fundraising page. you can also connect with the One Year Fund via Facebook and Twitter.