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NEW YORK (AP) - A famously free New York City university is expected to start charging tuition after more than a century of offering a world class education to its undergrads at no cost.

The Board of Trustees at the Cooper Union is likely to vote later this month in favor of a plan that would charge undergraduates for the first time since 1902.

The nearly 1,000-student college is famous for arts, engineering and architecture programs that rank among the most selective in the country.

But a $12 million budget deficit, years of stop gap measures and ever increasing higher education costs have put the school in a difficult financial predicament.

A vocal group of students, alumni and faculty are protesting the tuition charge, saying it violates the core founding principles of the university.

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