Last year, Cooper Union's Board of Trustees decided to ditch the school's historically free status in favor of charging tuition, citing dire financial circumstances. The decision understandably riled current and prospective students, faculty and alumni, some of whom cited monetary mishandling on the part of the school administration. Now, the state Attorney General's office has launched an investigation into the school's finances.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will probe the financial decisions made by the school that led to its reported insolvency, including a $175 million loan to build new facilities, potentially inaccurate numbers on the school's website, a bonus awarded to the president preceding the current administration, and the handling of the the land underneath the Chrysler Building, which belongs to the school and reportedly netted it $7 million annually. The AG's office will also investigate the school's decision to charge tuition.

The school is currently in the midst of a lawsuit levied by a group of professors, alumni and students who claim the Board of Trustees could have avoided charging tuition—$20K per semester, starting with this school year's freshman class—if it weren't for a number of poor financial decisions. These, according to the suit, include borrowing money to finance pricey real estate developments, in addition to a series of extravagant personal expenditures made by President Jamshed Bharucha.

Alumni from the group Free Cooper Union, which was protested the school's decision to charge tuition, say they find the AG's investigation vindicating.

"From our perspective, the current administration has had this long term propaganda machine going that's filled with consultants and new people that they hired into the administration to vilify the community for their work in trying to keep the school free, while at the same time rewriting the history of the school, falsifying numbers and figures to try and confuse the community and the public into thinking that [charging tuition] was justified," Victoria Sobel, an alumnus and member of the group, told us. "The announcement of the investigation is a really large step for the community because we've been combatting that propaganda for years. We were always told it was not possible [for the attorney general to investigate], that the administration wasn't doing anything wrong."

Cooper Union spokesperson Justin Harmon told us the school will cooperate with the attorney general's investigation. "We have worked relentlessly to put the Cooper Union back on firm financial footing after decades of losses and budget woes. The changes have been successful, challenging and exciting," he said in a statement.