Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is donating $1.8 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University.

Bloomberg and the Baltimore university said Sunday that the gift is the largest ever to any education institution in the U.S.

University President Ronald Daniels is calling the gift “transformative.” He says the contribution will allow Hopkins starting next fall to eliminate student loans in financial aid packages and commit to admitting the highest-achieving students regardless of ability to pay.

Bloomberg says America is at its best when it rewards people “based on the quality of their work, not the size of their pocketbook.”

Bloomberg’s donation, the largest ever made to a U.S. education institution, will be used exclusively to help pay for undergraduate tuition “to permanently commit to need-blind admissions and ensure unparalleled educational opportunities for the next generation of global leaders.” according to a press release from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“Our university was founded in 1876 by a visionary $7 million gift from the Baltimore merchant Johns Hopkins. When it was announced, it was the largest gift of its kind. It created America’s first research university and changed the face of American higher education. With today’s announcement of Mike Bloomberg’s $1.8 billion investment in financial aid, history has repeated itself,” university president Ronald J. Daniels said in a statement.

“Hopkins has received a gift that is unprecedented and transformative. This gift powerfully affirms Mike’s belief in the promise of this country and the power of accessible higher education. We are truly blessed.”

The 76-year-old founder of the global finances services company Bloomberg L.P. is among the world’s richest people. He is also weighing a run for president in 2020.

Source: The Associated Press

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