Ex-New York mayor’s gift to Johns Hopkins is reported to be the largest private donation in recent years to higher education
Michael Bloomberg donates $1.8bn to his former college
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said he is giving a record $1.8 billion to his alma mater Johns Hopkins University in the US to support student financial aid and promote equal opportunity.
The gift is reported to be the largest private donation in recent years to higher education, and aims to make the elite universities in the US more accessible to students from low- to middle-income families.
“America is at its best when we reward people based on the quality of their work, not the size of their pocketbook,” Mr Bloomberg wrote in an article in The New York Times on Sunday.
“Denying students entry to a college based on their ability to pay undermines equal opportunity. It perpetuates inter-generational poverty. And it strikes at the heart of the American dream: the idea that every person, from every community, has the chance to rise based on merit.”
No qualified high school student should ever be barred entrance to a college based on his or her family’s bank account. “Yet it happens all the time,” he added.
Mr Bloomberg served as the 108th New York mayor from 2002 to 2013. He graduated from John Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1964, and gave his first donation to the school - $5 – the year after he left. Since then, he wrote in the article, he has donated $1.5bn to support research, teaching and financial aid.
His latest award aims to ensure John Hopkins’ admissions process is based on merit and not wealth. “This will make admissions at Hopkins forever need-blind; that finances will never again factor into decisions,” he wrote.
The gift is “unprecedented and transformative”, University President Ronald Daniels was quoted in US media as saying.