Starting in the fall semester, paying tuition will be one less thing to worry about for most medical students at Johns Hopkins University. 

The good news comes thanks to businessman Michael R. Bloomberg’s philanthropic organization, Bloomberg Philanthropies, which donated $1 billion to cover tuition for students who come from households earning less than $300,000. Additionally, students from families who bring in less than $175,000 will also have their fees and living expenses covered, the university announced Monday. 

Bloomberg, who graduated from the university himself, explained the gift’s goal is twofold: remove some of the obstacles that often stop lower-income students from pursuing the medical field and help improve life expectancy in the country, which has dropped in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


“As the U.S. struggles to recover from a disturbing decline in life expectancy, our country faces a serious shortage of doctors, nurses, and public health professionals — and yet, the high cost of medical, nursing, and graduate school too often bars students from enrolling,” he said in a statement. 

He continued: “By reducing the financial barriers to these essential fields, we can free more students to pursue careers they’re passionate about — and enable them to serve more of the families and communities who need them the most.” 

The gift will apply to nearly two-thirds of the medical school’s current and incoming student body. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, around 73% of students in 2023 accumulated student loan debt, and the median for those who did was $200,000. 


That kind of financial burden inhibits many students from even applying to medical schools, Sanjay Desai, the chief academic officer at the American Medical Association, told The Washington Post, adding that health outcomes are improved when physicians reflect the diversity in the populations they treat. 


“I hope it inspires others to action,” said Desai, who is also on the Johns Hopkins faculty. 

This isn’t the first time Bloomberg has donated to the university: The latest endowment brings the organization’s total gifts up to $4.55 billion. In 2018, a $1.8 billion contribution to undergraduate financial aid helped the school increase the number of low-income or first generation college students attending by 43%. 

“It’s a full-ride scholarship,” Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels told the Post of the latest gift. “We see that as a very significant move to ensure that medical education is available to the best and brightest across the country.”