Paying for indigent students to get a university education

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Donation of billions to help students
By Jinny Throup
In what is being hailed as a historic gift for higher education, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has donated $1.8 billion (€1.6 billion) to help low-income students at Johns Hopkins University. Whilst Bloomberg has made dozens of donations to benefit underprivileged university students in the past, this most recent one is the single largest donation ever to be made to an American university. Unlike in most European countries, the cost of attending university in the US is extremely high, and this is a serious barrier to the higher education of those who are less advantaged. It is particularly burdensome to students of color and immigrants.

Compared to similarly ranked US universities, Johns Hopkins has one of the lowest endowment funds for the aid of low income students. This means that many of these students who are qualified are not accepted, and the ones that are accepted have to take out large loans to pay for their education. The repayment of these loans is a crushing burden for many years after graduation. Mayor Bloomberg says that, “denying students entry to university based on their ability to pay undermines equal opportunity,” and his incredibly generous donation means that many of these student loans at Johns Hopkins will now be replaced by fully paid scholarships.


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