(JTA) — Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will donate $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University, which he attended, to provide more financial aid to low-and middle-income students.
It is reported to be the largest private donation to higher education, and will allow the university to eliminate loans from financial aid packages for incoming students beginning in the next school year and expand grants for those in financial need.
“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,” Bloomberg wrote in an op-ed published in the New York Times on Sunday announcing the gift.
“Denying students entry to a college based on their ability to pay undermines equal opportunity. It perpetuates intergenerational 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,” he wrote.
The donation announced on Sunday is in addition to the some $1.5 billion that Bloomberg, 76, has donated to the school in past years to support research, teaching and financial aid.
Bloomberg noted in his op-ed that his first donation to the school the year after he graduated was $5.00, which was all he could afford.
Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels told the Washington Post that “as a consequence of Mike Bloomberg’s extraordinary gift, we will be fully and permanently need-blind in our admissions and be able to substantially enrich the level of direct assistance we provide to our undergraduate students and their families.”
Bloomberg, who with great fanfare last month re-registered as a Democrat, is rumored to be planning a run for president in 2020.