The University Network

Bloomberg Presidency? Here’s Where He Stands On Higher Education

After mulling it over for weeks, Michael Bloomberg has officially joined the 2020 presidential race as a Democrat. 

The billionaire businessman and former New York City mayor will presumably rival Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg as the more moderate Democratic candidate in a field led by progressives such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Although he hasn’t yet announced a definitive higher education platform for his candidacy, he’s been quite outspoken in the past about the costs of college and how it favors affluent students. In 2018, Bloomberg gave $1.8 billion to his alma mater Johns Hopkins and devoted it exclusively to financial aid. It is the largest-ever contribution to an academic institution in American history. 

Unfortunately, Bloomberg can’t afford to send every student in America to college out of his own pocket. But in an op-ed published in the New York Times, he announced three ways that the United States can give more students an opportunity to earn their college degree, particularly at selective colleges. 

“First, we need to improve college advising so that more students from more diverse backgrounds apply to select colleges,” he writes. 

Bloomberg’s foundation, titled Bloomberg Philanthropies, has already counseled close to 50,000 low- and middle-income students about their college options and helped them with the financial aid process through an initiative called CollegePoint

“Second, we need to persuade more colleges to increase their financial aid and accept more low- and middle-income students,” Bloomberg continues. 

He explains that by way of the American Talent Initiative, which Bloomberg Philanthropies founded several years ago, more than 100 colleges, both private and public, have begun admitting and graduating more low- and middle-income students. 

“Third, we need more graduates to direct their alumni giving to financial aid. I’m increasing my personal commitment — the largest donation to a collegiate institution, I’m told,” Bloomberg writes. “But it’s my hope that others will, too, whether the check is for $5, $50, $50,000 or more.”

He goes on to explain that federal grants haven’t kept pace with the rising costs of college and that states have reduced student aid. 

“Together, the federal and state governments should make a new commitment to improving access to college and reducing the often prohibitive burdens debt places on so many students and families,” he concludes. “There may be no better investment that we can make in the future of the American dream — and the promise of equal opportunity for all.” 

For a full list of statements Bloomberg made at The New York Times Higher Ed Leaders Forum, click here.

*Updated Nov. 25, 2019