Michael Bloomberg, the technology billionaire and former mayor of New York who is planning a possible presidential run as a Democratic candidate, announced on Sunday (18 November) that he will donate $1.8 billion to his alma mater John Hopkins University, The Wall Street Journal has reported.
The gift is likely to be the largest ever by an individual donor to an academic institution.
Bloomberg announced the $1.8 billion gift in a New York Times op-ed. “No qualified high school student should ever be barred entrance to a college based on his or her family’s bank account,” he wrote.
Bloomberg added that the gift will be earmarked for scholarships and grants for undergraduate students from low and middle-income families.
The gift will enable Johns Hopkins to become one among the handful of need-blind schools where students will be considered for admission regardless of their ability to pay.
Bloomberg pointed to a recent analysis by The New York Times that found that dozens of American colleges, including five in the Ivy League, have more students from the top 1 per cent of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60 per cent — even though many of these lower-income group students have the qualifications to get in.
“America is at its best when we reward people based on the quality of their work, not the size of their pocketbook,” Bloomberg added.
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