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Bloomberg gift is nice, but are low-income students aware of it?

Michael Bloomberg’s donation to Johns Hopkins University deserves recognition (“What the Bloomberg gift means for Johns Hopkins — and Baltimore,” Nov. 19). His commitment to rewarding merit and discouraging financial discrimination should be universal by now.

But this generous gift probably won’t do the work it’s meant to. That’s because one of the largest education-related barriers facing under-resourced populations is information deficiency. High school counselors and college admissions teams haven’t yet discovered how to inform low-socioeconomic-status families about the resources available. A mega-donation like Mr. Bloomberg’s is powerless against these unknown unknowns — unless part of that donation is earmarked to solve the problem.

We can’t expect the former New York City mayor to ride down Charles Street announcing the coming assistance. And hope that more money will automatically bring under-resourced students through the East Gate would be misplaced. We can, however, use this moment to think about what steps are necessary to communicate to low-socioeconomic-status students the resources made available through rare gifts like Mr. Bloomberg’s.

Thomas Spring, Baltimore

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