The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, more commonly known as simply Cooper Union, is a privately funded college in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. It is located at Cooper Square and Astor Place. It was founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper, industrialist and philanthropist. It offers a world-class education in art, architecture, engineering, humanities and social sciences.
Cooper Union has always been a unique learning institution. Peter Cooper made his school free for the working classes. Its mission is based on Cooper's fundamental belief that the best education should be accessible to those who qualify, independent of their race, religion, sex, wealth or social status, and should be "open and free to all". The Cooper Union grants each admitted student a full-tuition scholarship; however, as of 2013, due to financial problems, that policy was being reconsidered.
Cooper Union is one of the most selective colleges in the United States, with an acceptance rate generally below 10%, with both the art and architecture schools' acceptance rates often below 5%. Cooper Union has been named by Newsweek Magazine as the "#1 Most Desirable Small School" and "#7 Most Desirable School" overall.