Bloomberg's breakthrough: His massive gift to Johns Hopkins begins to change the depressing truth about equal opportunity in America today

Long before he became a billionaire, Mike Bloomberg was the son of a bookkeeper who, as he remembers it, never earned more than $6,000 a year.

“I was able to afford Johns Hopkins University through a National Defense student loan, and by holding down a job on campus,” he wrote in the New York Times.

The pathway to prosperity from which he and millions of other benefited is all but barricaded for most young Americans today.

With private college like Hopkins costing $70,000 a year, loans and campus jobs used by young Bloomberg aren’t enough. Financial aid doesn’t come close to keeping up; little wonder student loan debt is now $1.4 trillion.

And little wonder, according to an analysis by the Times, more students now come from the top 1% of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60% of that scale. In an age of all-caps outrage, that single, simple fact is a shrieking insult to the national creed of equal opportunity for all.

Bloomberg, bless him, is giving his alma mater $1.8 billion, a donation larger than any to any American academic institution ever, to make admissions there based solely on academic potential, not wealth. What a gift — not to an institution, but to a central American promise.

There are nearly 2,000 private four-year institutions of higher education in this nation. Who else will follow his inspired lead?

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