What free college really means

July 3, 2019 | The New York Times

Until a few years ago, I taught an undergraduate research and writing course at Cooper Union, in Manhattan’s East Village. Founded in 1859, Cooper Union is the namesake of Peter Cooper, who used his fortune from real estate, steel, railroads and glue to endow a college where education would be as “free as air and water” for aspiring architects, engineers and artists. The promise held up for more than a century.

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