Major Gifts

Bloomberg Philanthropies gifts $1 billion to Johns Hopkins to cover tuition for medical students

The gift follows a similar one by Dr. Ruth Gottesman in February to Albert Einstein College of Medicine — now tied for the two largest donations made to any U.S. medical school

A majority of medical students attending the prestigious Johns Hopkins University will receive a free ride beginning this fall following a $1 billion donation from billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The gift was announced on Monday in the Bloomberg Philanthropies annual report. 

According to the school, which is located in Baltimore, the gift will be used to offer free medical school tuition, which normally costs about $65,000 per year for four years, to any family that earns less than $300,000 per year. Students from families earning less than $175,000 annually will also have their fees and living expenses covered. Financial aid for students in nursing, public health and other non-medical graduate programs will also be increased using the donation. 

The $1 billion gift comes on the heels of one of the same magnitude given by Dr. Ruth Gottesman in February to medical school students attending the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. At the time, Gottesman’s donation was the largest made to any U.S. medical school. 

Bloomberg, a 1964 graduate of Johns Hopkins’ department of electrical engineering, has supported the institution with a series of mega-gifts throughout recent years. He served as chair of the board of trustees from 1996 to 2002, and in 2001, the School of Hygiene and Public Health was renamed the Bloomberg School of Public Health in recognition of his support for  public health issues. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies gifted $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins to assist undergraduate students in need of financial aid. 

Bloomberg said the latest gift will help the school “attract more of the nation’s brightest minds and help free more of them to pursue the fields that most inspire them, rather than ones that will best enable them to repay loans.” Bloomberg added that the gift comes as a result of the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; “while other countries have seen their life expectancy return to (or close to) pre-COVID levels, the United States has lagged behind,” he said in the annual report. The medical school will not bear Bloomberg’s name as a result of the gift, a spokesperson for Bloomberg Philanthropies told eJewishPhilanthropy.

Johns Hopkins has avoided much of the controversy over the Israel-Hamas war that has plagued other universities. When the “Gaza solidarity encampments” that roiled campuses nationwide hit Johns Hopkins in the spring, the school’s president, Ron Daniels, reached an agreement with demonstrators on May 12, after the encampment had been up for 13 days.

Bloomberg, the 15th richest person in the world, according to Forbes, also gave nearly $44 million to Magen David Adom, Israel’s nonprofit emergency medical service, in the wake of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks.