In 1964, Michael Bloomberg graduated from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1965, he made his first gift to the university: $5.
Since then, the billionaire businessman and former mayor of New York — who is worth $45.4 billion, according to Forbes — has donated $1.5 billion to the school. On Monday, Bloomberg announced that he has given an additional $1.8 billion gift to his alma mater.
This combined contribution of over $3.35 billion is believed to be the largest philanthropic gift ever made to an American academic institution.
"My Hopkins diploma opened up doors that otherwise would have been closed, and allowed me to live the American dream," wrote Bloomberg in an op-ed for The New York Times, in which he said that the funds will be used to provide financial aid for "qualified low and middle-income students."
Bloomberg says that this gift will allow Hopkins to remain a need-blind institution, offer more generous financial aid, replace loans with grants and "make the campus more socioeconomically diverse."
In an email to the Johns Hopkins community, University President Ronald J. Daniels called the gift an "extraordinary blessing," saying the school will aim to "attract and support" a student body in which 20 percent or more of students qualify for federal Pell grants by 2023.
Currently, most students from families making less than $60,000 annually qualify for federal Pell grants, which are awarded based on factors such as family income, household size and tuition costs, and many students from families earning more than $60,000 qualify as well. Recent figures from the U.S. Census indicate that the median household income in the U.S. is $60,336.
"This historic gift reflects Mike Bloomberg's deep belief in the transformative power of higher education and his insistence that it be accessible to all qualified students, regardless of financial means," wrote Daniels. "It also affirms Mike's profound devotion to this university for the role that it played in enriching his life."