Johns Hopkins University is hoping to attract more minority graduate students to STEM PhD programs through a $150 million donation by alumnus Mike Bloomberg.
The Baltimore university only has five students of color currently working on doctoral programs in mathematics, computer science, and electrical engineering, according to The Washington Post.
These numbers only represent around five percent of all its graduate students, highlighting the stark underrepresentation of minorities at Johns Hopkins and higher education generally.
The university will use the $150 million to finance recruiting and talent-development efforts to attract STEM students from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other schools with high minority representation.
Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels remarked that the gift will allow the university to address a “striking and persistent disparity” in graduate education when it comes to Black, Hispanic, and Native American learners.
With the money, Hopkins will also create 100 new slots for students who earned bachelor’s degrees from HBCUs and similar schools. Tuition costs for six years, a stipend, health insurance, and travel funds will be covered. These students will be called Vivien Thomas Scholars to honor a Black scientist who was a pioneer at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1940s.
Partnerships between institutions can also be expected so undergraduates can be presented with research and mentorship opportunities. The University of Maryland Baltimore County, Howard University, Morgan State University, Prairie View A&M University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College are among Hopkins’ first partners in the endeavor.