Bloomberg donating $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins for financial aid for low-income families
© Greg Nash

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is donating $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University in what he called an effort to financially support education for low and middle-income families. 

“America is at its best when we reward people based on the quality of their work, not the size of their pocketbook,” Bloomberg, who is considering a run for president in 2020, said in a press release. 

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"Denying students entry to a college based on their ability to pay undermines equal opportunity. It perpetuates intergenerational poverty. And it strikes at the heart of the American dream: the idea that every person, from every community, has the chance to rise based on merit." 

The funds will be devoted exclusively to financial aid for low and middle-income students, with the overall goal of eliminating student loans in financial aid packages. 

"That will make admissions at Hopkins forever need blind," Bloomberg said. "It will allow the school to offer more generous scholarships. It will ease the burden of student debt for many graduates. And it will help open up the American dream to more young people."

Bloomberg is a 1964 graduate from Johns Hopkins and had already given the university $1.5 billion before this donation, according to The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper noted that this latest gift is believed to be the largest donation to an academic institution of all time. 

The announcement from Bloomberg comes as he's under growing scrutiny about a potential presidential bid. He said last week that he plans to decide whether he will run by February. 

Bloomberg donated heavily to Democrats in the past midterm election cycle, giving tens of millions of dollars to congressional candidates.