Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced a "significant" gift to Princeton University in support of efforts to expand and enhance opportunities for first-generation, lower-income, and underrepresented students.
The gift — reported to be $20 million by the Wall Street Journal — will support the establishment of the Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity as a hub for Princeton's college access and opportunity initiatives, as well as efforts to inform and strengthen similar initiatives across the United States. Existing programs to be integrated into the center include the Freshman Scholars Institute; the Scholars Institute Fellows Program; the Program for Transfer, Non-Traditional, and Veterans Students; the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program; the Princeton University Preparatory Program; and the Princeton Summer Journalism Program.
Since it adopted a no-loan policy in 2001, Princeton has increased the percentage of its student body that receives need-based federal Pell Grants from 6.2 percent to 19.3 percent in the class of 2024. Among the students who were recently offered admission to the class of 2025, 22 percent will be first-generation college students, up from 17 percent for the class of 2024.
"[W]e know that getting students to college isn't sufficient; we must do all we can to provide a more comprehensive support system for all who matriculate," said Emma Bloomberg, a daughter of Bloomberg Philanthropies founder Michael R. Bloomberg, Princeton alumna ('01), and the founder and CEO of Murmuration, a nonprofit working to help communities improve educational opportunities for all children. "This center will help make sure that students who are disproportionately affected by the current inequities in education are better able to access supports, resources, and opportunities and that lessons learned are shared broadly across the country."
Khristina Gonzalez, associate dean, director of programs for access and inclusion, and director of the Freshman Scholars Institute, will serve as the Bob Peck '88 Director of the Emma Bloomberg Center — made possible by a gift from alumnus Bob Peck, who was the first in his family to graduate from college.
"Over the last five years, I have witnessed tremendous campus support — from faculty, staff, alumni, and students — for the important work of building programs and policies that promote equity of access and opportunity and that empower the global community of [first generation, lower-income] students to achieve their academic and professional goals," said Gonzalez. "These extraordinary gifts allow us to intensify these efforts — helping more students access college, ensuring that they have the opportunity to thrive on those campuses, and creating new channels to share best practices and research insights with other schools."
(Photo credit: Nick Donnoli/Princeton University)