Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he is donating $1.8 billion to his former school, Johns Hopkins University on Sunday.
Bloomberg said he is doing so to increase financial aid for low- and middle-income students at the university in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Chronicle of Higher Education says it is the largest financial gift ever to any education institution in the world.
The largest donation to higher education had been a gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 1999, the private organization launched the Gates Millennium Scholars program with a $1 billion commitment over 20 years.
The next largest donation listed went to Vedanta University in Konark, India. The Anil Agarwal Foundation spent about $1 billion to help establish the school in 2006.
What will Hopkins do with the gift?
Johns Hopkins representatives said the gift will make it possible for the school to remove student loans as part of its financial aid offerings starting next fall. Instead, the university will offer students scholarships that do not have to be repaid.
University President Ronald Daniels called the gift “unprecedented and transformative.” He said Bloomberg’s donation will let the school permanently follow “need-blind admissions” policy. Being need blind means Johns Hopkins will admit the best students, regardless of their ability to pay for their education.
Daniels noted that the school was established in 1876 by a $7 million gift from Baltimore businessman Johns Hopkins. At the time, that gift was the largest of its kind.
Bloomberg said he expects the money will permit Hopkins to offer larger scholarships and reduce debt for students.
He said in a statement, “America is at its best when we reward people based on the quality of their work, not the size of their pocketbook. Denying students entry to a college based on their ability to pay undermines equal opportunity.”
Bloomberg completed his study at Hopkins in 1964. He paid for his study with a student loan and a job at the school.
At the age of 76, Bloomberg is one of the world’s wealthiest people. He created the international finance service and media company, Bloomberg. He also served as New York mayor from 2002 to 2013 and has considered running for president for years. This includes in 2020.
I’m Jonathan Evans.
Pete Musto adapted this story for VOA Learning English using materials from the Associated Press and Chronicle of Higher Education. Hai Do was the editor. We want to hear from you. How should schools use large donations? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.
Words in This Story
income – n. money that is earned from work, investments, business
scholarship(s) – n. an amount of money that is given by a school or an organization to a student to help pay for the student's education
unprecedented – adj. not done or experienced before
transformative – adj. causing or able to cause a change
reward – v. to give money or another kind of payment to someone or something for something good that has been done
pocketbook – n. the amount of money that someone has available to spend :someone's ability to pay for things
undermine(s) – v. to make someone or something weaker or less effective usually in a secret or gradual way
opportunity – n. an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done