Wall Street billionaire donates $1 billion to cover tuition for medical students


Wall Street billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to give $1 billion to Johns Hopkins University, home of one of the country’s most prestigious medical programs, to make medical school tuition-free for most students and increase financial aid for students in nursing, public health and other non-medical graduate schools.
John Hopkins Bloomberg School Of Public Health Centennial Celebration

Michael Bloomberg attends the John Hopkins Bloomberg School Of Public Health Centennial Celebration at Hammerstein Ballroom on Sept. 19, 2016.

Getty Images]

Key Takeaways
  • The gift, which was first reported by the Washington Post, was announced Monday in a letter in the Bloomberg Philanthropies annual report and is meant to continue a policy of “need-blind undergraduate admissions” as established by earlier donations.
  • Johns Hopkins will use the gift to offer free medical school tuition, which normally amounts to about $65,000 per year for four years, to any family that earns less than $300,000 per year, and students from families earning less than $175,000 annually will also have their fees and living expenses covered.
  • The donation will also be used to increase financial assistance for students in a variety of other graduate programs including education, business, engineering and other sectors.
  • Bloomberg said the 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.”
  • A spokesperson for Bloomberg Philanthropies would not confirm a payment schedule on the $1 billion pledge but did confirm some of the gift has been paid out already.
Big Number

$4.55 billion. That’s how much Bloomberg Philanthropies has donated to Johns Hopkins University in total, according to the Post, including a $1.8 billion donation made in 2018. Bloomberg said his donations have helped to greatly increase the number of students coming from families with the greatest financial need, and that those students now make up 21% of the Hopkins student body, up from 9% a decade ago.

Forbes Valuation

Bloomberg is worth an estimated $106.2 billion and is ranked as the 15th richest person in the world as of Monday. He got his start on Wall Street in the 1960s before co-founding finance and media company Bloomberg LP in 1981.

Bloomberg, who served as New York City mayor for more than a decade, is ranked by Forbes as the richest person in New York state.

Bloomberg was among America’s most philanthropic billionaires as ranked by Forbes for 2024 with more than $17 billion in lifetime giving focused largely on climate change, health and education. He has pledged to donate his stake in Bloomberg LP to Bloomberg Philanthropies when he dies, if not sooner.

The public health graduate school of Johns Hopkins, the largest in the country, has been named the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health since 2001. Bloomberg got his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins.


The average medical school graduate owes $250,995 in total student loan debt, according to the Education Data Initiative, with about $122,270 in debt for medical school alone as of 2000. Medical school graduates, on average, owe four times as much as the average college graduate. At Johns Hopkins, graduates leave school with an average of $105,000 in debt, about half the national average, the Post reported.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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