The Chatter

Bloomberg Makes Historic $1.8 Billion Gift to Johns Hopkins

Donation to eliminate financial concerns from admission equation for qualified students.

By Ron Cassie | November 19, 2018, 12:40 pm

-Johns Hopkins University
The Chatter

Bloomberg Makes Historic $1.8 Billion Gift to Johns Hopkins

Donation to eliminate financial concerns from admission equation for qualified students.

By Ron Cassie | November 19, 2018, 12:40 pm

-Johns Hopkins University

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he does not believe qualified high school students should be barred from entrance to college because of financial issues, announcing Sunday that he was giving a record $1.8 billion donation to Johns Hopkins University, ensuring that admissions to his alma mater would forever be need-blind.

“I was lucky,” Bloomberg wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “My father was a bookkeeper who never made more than $6,000 a year. But I was able to afford Johns Hopkins University through a National Defense student loan, and by holding down a job on campus. My Hopkins diploma opened up doors that otherwise would have been closed, and allowed me to live the American dream.”

Beginning in the fall of 2019, Johns Hopkins will become a loan-free institution, President Ronald Daniels said. The school, founded in 1876 with a $7 million endowment from its namesake Baltimore philanthropist, plans to replace all undergraduate student loans with scholarships and reduce overall family contributions to financial aid. In addition, Hopkins will offer immediate loan relief to currently enrolled undergraduate students receiving a federal need-based loan.

In a letter to the university’s alumni, Daniels said the school’s goal is to “attract and support” a student body by 2023 in which at least 20 percent of its students are eligible for federal Pell grants.

Hopkins tied at No. 10 in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings of national universities. Its annual tuition, fees, and room and board will total nearly $70,000 in 2019.

“America is at its best when we reward people based on the quality of their work, not the size of their pocketbook,” Bloomberg said. “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.”

Bloomberg, 76, is a graduate of the Class of 1964 and a former chair of the Hopkins board of trustees. With his latest gift, Bloomberg’s overall contributions to Hopkins now surpass $3.35 billion. It is believed to be the largest philanthropic investment ever made to an institution of higher learning in the U.S.

At more than three-dozen elite U.S. colleges, more students come from families in the top one percent of the income scale than the the bottom 60 percent, even though many lower and middle-income students have the academic credentials for admittance, according to a 2017 analysis by The New York Times.

With more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loans in the country, college loans surpass total motor vehicle loans, making it the second-largest consumer debt segment in the country after mortgages, according to the Federal Reserve’s most recent annual report.

In addition to Bloomberg’s announcement, Hopkins said it plans to address the issue of college “under-matching,” in which top high school students from middle and lower-income families are not matched with selective college options with new outreach and recruitment programs. Bloomberg Philanthropies will also address the issue through two programs aimed at helping high-achieving, lower-income students gain access top universities.

Previously, Bloomberg donated $1.5 billion to university’s school of public health, which bears his name. He has hinted at a possible presidential run for president in 2020, switching his party registration from Republican to Democrat earlier this year.

According to the Forbes’ real-time billionaire rankings, Bloomberg is the 14th-richest person in the world, with a fortune estimated at $46.3 billion. After being laid off from an investment-banking job at Salomon Brothers in 1981, he founded the global business information and media company Bloomberg L.P., which generates an annual $9 billion in sales.

Meet The Author

Ron Cassie is a senior editor for Baltimore, where he covers the environment, education, medicine, politics, and city life.

You May Also Like


The Inside Track

Herbert “Blue” Chase has placed bets at Pimlico Race Course every day for 70 years.

News & Community

The Kids Are Alright

Baltimore youth are giving us hope for the future.

The Chatter

Fall of Bethlehem Steel Chronicled in New Photo Exhibition

Photojournalist’s 15-year study of the decline of American steel opens at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

The Chatter

The Crumbling Tradition at “The Home of the Preakness”

Historic Pimlico Race Course continues to devolve as its future remains uncertain.

The Chatter

Gino Marchetti Was Feared on the Gridiron and Beloved in Baltimore

The legendary Colts defensive end is remembered fondly by those in the Italian community.

The Chatter

Baltimore Streetcar Museum Rebuilds After CSX Train Derailment

The cleanup continues from an ironic and heartbreaking accident.

Connect With Us

Most Read

Arts Community Reflects on What The Windup Space Has Meant to Baltimore: Inclusive arts venue in Station North will close its doors on June 1.

Gender-Neutral Bathroom Bill Unanimously Passes City Hearing: Supported by transgender activists and Mayor’s LGBTQ Commission, legislation could be signed during next month’s Pride Weekend.

Gnocco Chef Brian Lavin Talks Restaurant Closure and Move to the West Coast: Highlandtown spot will serve its final dinner service this Saturday.

Five Things to Know About Bernard C. “Jack” Young: East Baltimore native knows how to wield power and his first policy moves as mayor will be revealing.

City Officials Express Concern Over Elon Musk’s Baltimore to D.C. Transit Plan: Before exploring intra-city transportation options, local leaders hope to address issues at home.