Bloomberg gift to John Hopkins University covers tuition for medical students

Most medical students at Johns Hopkins University will no longer pay tuition thanks to a gift of one billion dollars (£778 million) from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Starting in the autumn, the gift will cover the full tuition for medical students from families earning less than 300,000 dollars (£233,617). Living expenses and fees will be covered for students from families who earn up to 175,000 dollars (£136,276).

Bloomberg Philanthropies said that currently almost two-thirds of all students seeking an MD from Johns Hopkins qualify for financial aid, and future doctors graduate from the university with an average total student loan debt of approximately 104,000 dollars (£81,006).

Michael Bloomberg in a suit, making a speech against a blue background
Michael Bloomberg’s Bloomberg Philanthropies has donated a billion dollars to the John Hopkins medical school (Shannon Stapleton via AP, Pool, File)

Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP, announced the gift on Monday.

In a statement, Mr Bloomberg, who received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the same university in 1964, said: “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.”

“Mike has really been moved by the challenges that the professions confronted during the course of the pandemic and the heroic efforts they’ve made to protecting and providing care to American citizens during the pandemic,” Mr Daniels said in an interview.

“I think he simply wanted to recognise the importance of these fields and provide this support to ensure that the best and brightest could attend medical school and the school of nursing and public health.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies previously gifted 1.8 billion dollars (£1.4 billion) to Johns Hopkins in 2018 to ensure that undergraduate students are accepted regardless of their family’s income.

Johns Hopkins will be the latest medical school to offer free tuition to most or all of their medical students.

In February, Ruth Gottesman, a former professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the widow of a Wall Street investor, announced that she was donating one billion dollars to the school.

The gift meant that four-year students immediately received free tuition and all other students would be offered free tuition in the fall.

In 2018, Kenneth and Elaine Langone gave 100 million dollars (£77 million) to the NYU Grossman School of Medicine to make tuition free for all current and future medical students through an endowment fund.

The couple gave a second gift of 200 million dollars (£155 million) in 2023 to the NYU Grossman Long Island School of Medicine to guarantee free tuition for all medical students.

Kenneth Langone is a co-founder of Home Depot.

Other medical schools, such as UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, offer merit-based scholarships thanks to some 146 million dollars (£113 million) in donations from the recording industry mogul, David Geffen.

The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine has also offered tuition-free education for medical students since 2008.

There have been only a handful of billion-dollar donations to universities in the US, most coming in the past several years.

In 2022, venture capitalist John Doerr and his wife, Ann, gave 1.1 billion dollars (£856 million) to Stanford University for a new school focusing on climate change.

The small liberal arts school, McPherson College, in Kansas, has received two matching pledges since 2022 from an anonymous donor totalling one billion dollars.

The school, which has around 800 enrolled students, has a program for automotive restoration and is located about 57 miles north of Wichita, Kansas.

Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, gave three billion dollars (£2.3 billion) to charities in 2023, making him one of the largest donors, according to research by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

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