The commitment includes $50 million for financial aid and scholarships, with a focus on removing barriers and increasing access to a policy education and the ultimate goal of enabling every McCourt school graduate to enter public service without the burden of student loan debt. Established in 2013 with a $100 million commitment from McCourt, the school has set a goal for itself of becoming the nation's most inclusive school of public policy. With the new funding from McCourt, participants in the National Urban Fellows (NUF) program — a graduate program dedicated to developing mid-career professionals, especially people of color, to be leaders and change agents in the public and nonprofit sectors — will be able to attend the school tuition-free in the 2021-22 academic year.
The remaining $50 million will help ensure that the school continues to make critical investments in faculty and research over the next decade, including a doubling of its faculty. Since 2013, the school has expanded its faculty by 35 percent, bringing in experts in economics, public management, environmental justice, racial justice, housing security, and environmental economics.
"Society is facing bigger challenges than ever before, making it essential that the people tasked with solving these challenges are not only well trained, but also represent the backgrounds and experiences of our full society," said McCourt. "Too often, the people most impacted by problems like economic inequality or extractive technology aren't at the policy-making table. With this funding, the McCourt School can open its doors more widely and build a pipeline of future public policy leaders that reflects the true diversity of our communities. Our ambition is to one day eliminate all financial barriers to a McCourt education."