A $100 million donation to Georgetown University’s public policy program will contribute to financial aid, scholarships and research at the school.
Frank McCourt Jr. (CAS ’75) pledged the investment to the McCourt School of Public Policy on March 25, following his prior 2013 donation of the same amount that founded the school in his name. Half of the investment will aim to increase financial aid and scholarship options for students in the program, and the other half will be directed toward faculty and research, according to a McCourt news release.
The school has long aimed to reduce financial barriers present in the pursuit of a degree in public policy, according to Maria Cancian, dean of the McCourt School.
“This investment — $50 million of which will go to scholarships and financial aid — will reduce tuition barriers at McCourt, including eliminating tuition for the incoming class of National Urban Fellows, and set the foundation for our long-term goal of eliminating the student loan debt that too often precludes public service,” Cancian wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Because of the investment, participants in the National Urban Fellows program will attend tuition free for the 2021-22 academic year. Georgetown has partnered with the National Urban Fellows, a group that promotes leadership for people of color and female candidates through collaboration with university master’s programs and focuses on providing professional development opportunities throughout candidates’ careers.
The donation will prepare a more representative group of leaders to enter the public policy realm in the future, according to a McCourt news release.
“This additional investment builds on the strong foundation and inclusive vision we have already set in motion,” the news release reads. “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.”
The cost to obtain a master’s in public policy from the McCourt School is more than $109,000 for the two-year program. The school currently offers various merit-based scholarships, including the McCourt Scholar award, which grants eligible students full tuition, a stipend and health care. McCourt offers affiliated scholarships, such as those for admitted students who are former Jesuit Volunteer Corps or Pickering Fellows, and need-based assistance that includes federal loans and employment aid through Georgetown’s Office of Student Financial Services.
McCourt’s investment will contribute to Georgetown’s vision of providing more equitable access for students to pursue degrees in higher education, according to University President John J. DeGioia (CAS ’79, GRD ’95).
“With this support, we will be able to come that much closer to realizing our aspiration — that there will be no barrier for pursuing public service,” DeGioia wrote in a March 25 McCourt news release. “Frank has articulated an extraordinary vision for this work, deepening our commitment to ethical, inclusive, and impactful public policy for the common good.”
Frank McCourt Jr., an entrepreneur, former investor in ownership of sports teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and current chairman and CEO of the real estate investment firm McCourt Global, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Georgetown. McCourt served on the university’s board of directors from 2005 to 2011 and has many family connections with Georgetown, as his father, two brothers and one of four sons are also graduates of the university.
At a time when civic engagement and civic institutions are being challenged, McCourt’s gift to the school is incredibly valuable, according to DeGioia.
“We have been honored by Frank McCourt’s long-standing commitment to public policy,” DeGioia wrote in a universitywide email announcing the donation. “I wish to express our profound gratitude to Frank for his vision for the role that Georgetown could play in shaping public policy and public service.”