NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A battle brewing over tuition at Cooper Union will now head to court.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported Wednesday, the lawsuit was filed by professors, alumni and students who have been admitted to the school.

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The suit alleged the trustees built an extravagant new academic building that the institution couldn’t afford and squandered the school’s endowment.

“The commitment to free education was enshrined in the school’s charter 155 years ago,” said Adriane Yovanovic, a Cooper Union alumnus.

“Peter Cooper’s belief is that education should be as free as air and water and he created this school to help the working class New Yorkers get a better education,” Yovanovic added.

This fall, Cooper Union plans to charge a base tuition of $19,500 and said it will reduce that based on need.

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Cooper Union spokesman Justin Harmon said the decision to charge tuition was “tremendously difficult” but he said the school will still be “among the most affordable elite institutions in the world.”

The lawsuit was filed in an attempt to keep the school from charging tuition for undergraduates.

The lawsuit asks the court to block any tuition and to order a financial audit.

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