Jewish billionaire Michael Moritz has pledged more than $115 million to the University of Oxford to set up a scholarship fund for low-income students.
In what the English university is calling the “biggest philanthropic gift for undergraduate financial support in European history,” the venture capitalist and his wife, Harriet Heyman, have committed the funds to provide “a fresh approach to student funding in the UK–fueled by philanthropy.”
“Real talent is housed everywhere,” he said. “Our new scholarship program means that a gifted student–irrespective of financial circumstances–will always be 100% confident they can study at Oxford.”
Moritz’s father was a recipient of similar scholarship assistance at Oxford, which allowed him to study at the prestigious institution after escaping Nazi Germany.
"He was plucked as a teenager from Nazi Germany," Moritz said. "He was able to attend a very good school here in London entirely on a scholarship. He went on to study at Oxford and had a Ph.D. financed entirely from a scholarship."
Students from families earning less than $25,000 will have their living costs covered by the new scholarship. They will also be eligible for lower rates on student loans.
The university hopes to have half of its 1,000 low-income students on Moritz-Heyman scholarships within three years of the program’s launch in the fall. “Eventually all such students would be covered by the scheme or equivalent similar scholarships,” read the Oxford press release.
The scholarship gift is the couple's second major gift to Oxford, having previously given $50 million to Moritz's alma mater, Christ Church.