Bloomberg Gives Johns Hopkins $1 Billion for Graduate Aid

Michael Bloomberg gives another megagift to his alma mater, this time in support of medical and graduate school students.
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Mark J. Drozdowski, Ed.D., is a senior writer with BestColleges. He has 30 years of experience in higher education as a university administrator and faculty member and teaches writing at Johns Hopkins University. A former columnist for The Chronicle ...
Published on July 8, 2024
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  • Philanthropist Michael Bloomberg has given Johns Hopkins University $1 billion for graduate financial aid.
  • The gift will provide free tuition for most of the university's medical students.
  • Funds will support students across a range of other graduate programs as well.
  • Bloomberg's gift follows his $1.8 billion gift to Hopkins in 2018 for undergraduate aid.

A new gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide free medical education for most students at Johns Hopkins University and will support other graduate students across a range of programs.

Michael Bloomberg — an entrepreneur, former New York City mayor, and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies — donated $1 billion to his alma mater, where he served as chair of the board of trustees from 1996-2002.

Beginning this fall, the university will offer free tuition to medical students from families earning less than $300,000 — some 95% of Americans, the university's announcement points out. In addition, the gift will cover living expenses for students whose family income falls below $175,000.

The university estimates about two-thirds of current Hopkins M.D. students will qualify for either free tuition or free tuition plus living expenses.

"As the U.S. struggles to recover from a disturbing decline in life expectancy, our country faces a serious shortage of doctors, nurses, and public health professionals — and yet, the high cost of medical, nursing, and graduate school too often bars students from enrolling," Bloomberg said in a statement.

"By reducing the financial barriers to these essential fields, we can free more students to pursue careers they're passionate about — and enable them to serve more of the families and communities who need them the most."

Bloomberg's latest gift will also provide need-based scholarships and graduate fellowships for students in the university's schools of nursing, public health, education, engineering, business, arts and sciences, advanced international studies, and the newly formed School of Government and Policy.

For medical students, scholarship funds will eliminate debt burdens the university has been trying to reduce for years. Although Bloomberg and other philanthropists have supported the medical school's debt-reduction initiative, today's graduates still leave Hopkins with roughly $105,000 in student loans.

Thanks to Bloomberg's recent gift, most graduates hereafter will have no loan debt from medical school.

Hopkins says it expects Bloomberg's gift will boost socioeconomic diversity among graduate students, much like his record $1.8 billion gift in 2018 has done for the university's undergraduate population.

Since that donation, earmarked for financial aid, the number of Hopkins undergraduates who are from low-income families or are first-generation students has grown by 43%.

"Extraordinary talent exists in every community across America, a fact borne out by the transformative impact of Mike Bloomberg's historic gift for financial aid to Hopkins undergraduates six years ago that dramatically expanded the breadth of experience and accomplishment of our student body," university President Ron Daniels said in a statement.

"Removing financial barriers to individual opportunity fuels excellence, innovation, and discoveries that redound to the benefit of society."

Bloomberg's donation matches another $1 billion gift given earlier this year to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine by board Chair Ruth L. Gottesman, whose generosity will provide free tuition for students in perpetuity.

Billion-dollar donations to higher education remain rare, even in an era when top universities wage capital campaigns approaching $10 billion.

That's what makes Bloomberg's continued generosity so extraordinary. Over his lifetime, Bloomberg has given away more than $15 billion, including roughly $4.5 billion to Johns Hopkins.