Category: Press Materials, Press Release

Title: $100M Investment in Georgetown’s McCourt School Advances Aspiration to be the World’s Most Inclusive Public Policy School

Date Published: March 25, 2021

Investment by civic entrepreneur Frank McCourt sets the foundation to remove tuition barriers for future students, build a more inclusive pipeline of policy leaders

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy announced today that it will advance its aspiration to be the most inclusive public policy school in the world through an investment of $100 million from civic entrepreneur and Georgetown alumnus Frank McCourt. The investment will reduce tuition barriers at the McCourt School of Public Policy, including eliminating tuition for the incoming class of National Urban Fellows. It will also enable Georgetown to expand and support its faculty and further its efforts to redirect the power of technology to work for the common good

“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,” said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. “Frank has articulated an extraordinary vision for this work, deepening our commitment to ethical, inclusive, and impactful public policy for the common good.”

“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 Frank McCourt. “Too often, the people most impacted by problems like economic inequality or extractive technology aren’t at the policy-making table.  I have been very pleased with what has been accomplished under the leadership of President DeGioia and Dean Cancian since the creation of the McCourt School in 2013. This additional investment builds on the strong foundation and inclusive vision we have already set in motion. 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.”

Strengthening the pipeline of diverse talent

Through this investment, the McCourt School is able to commit an ambitious $50 million to financial aid and scholarships, to set the foundation for reducing the tuition burden for future McCourt students. The long-term goal of the school is to eliminate the student loan debt that too often precludes public service, enabling graduates to immediately pursue their calling as civil servants and policymakers. The investment will catalyze a more inclusive pipeline of public policy leaders, expanding access for students seeking a public policy education.

“A school of public policy is a collection of people who believe that the critical problems we face can only be solved by working together,” said McCourt School Dean Maria Cancian. “Leaders must draw on diverse experiences, backgrounds, and ideologies—and recognize our interdependence—so they can work across differences to advance the common good.”

Most immediately, this investment will enable participants in the National Urban Fellows (NUF) program to attend tuition-free in the 2021-22 academic year, with aspirations to expand this commitment and others toward the goal of enrolling more exemplary students from underrepresented groups. NUF is an academic and leadership program that develops professionals from all ethnic and racial backgrounds, particularly people of color and women.

“This investment in the incoming class of National Urban Fellows is an investment in building a more just and equitable society and expanding the sphere of policymakers, civic leaders, and public servants,” said Lisa Rawlings, President and CEO of the National Urban Fellows. “The National Urban Fellows and the McCourt School share the goal of creating a consistent pipeline of diverse talent into the public and social sectors at a time when our nation needs it most.”

In 2018, the McCourt School was selected as the sole academic home of the 50-year-old NUF program. In August 2020, the NUF-McCourt School partnership graduated its first cohort of Master of Policy Management students—overwhelmingly first-generation college graduates.

Elevating expertise and impact

The McCourt School will commit $50 million from this investment to double the size of its world-class faculty and to Georgetown-led research projects and initiatives, across the University, focused on technology that serves the common good.

This funding will enable the school to broaden and deepen its bench of policy scholars and practitioners, and create more interdisciplinary appointments, with those who share its mission of policy-relevant research. Since 2013, the McCourt School has expanded its faculty by 35 percent, bringing on first-rate teachers and researchers in the fields of economics, public management, environmental justice, racial justice, housing security, and environmental economics.

“Students at the McCourt School unlock their diverse talents and prepare for critical problem-solving roles with the mentorship and expertise of the McCourt School’s vibrant community of policy scholars and practitioners,” said Georgetown University Provost Robert Groves. “The investment will enable the McCourt School to build more bridges from research to practice, from evidence to action, from the university’s work to the communities we serve, from individual effort to collective action, and from great challenges to lasting solutions.”

Building on Georgetown’s work at the intersection of technology, ethics, public policy, and governance, the funding will also support new research and initiatives to shape technology for the common good.

Forging a new approach to public policy education

McCourt’s commitment continues his history of making investments designed to deepen impact and inclusion at civic institutions, including his transformational investment of $100 million in 2013 to create the McCourt School of Public Policy, which has forged a new approach to public policy education and created a powerful force for advancing the common good through teaching, research, and service.

Since then, the school has made great progress on that founding mandate by launching the Institute of Politics and Public Service at the McCourt School, which connects and empowers students and the broader community to reimagine politics and public service and reaffirm its promise, and creating the Massive Data Institute, which focuses on the secure and responsible use of data to answer public policy questions.

This commitment to the McCourt School is part of a broader effort to think expansively about new voices and models to build solutions for the common good. In 2020, McCourt launched a new enterprise, Unfinished, dedicated to strengthening civic life in the digital age. Unfinished seeks to redirect technology, especially social media, to fuel collaboration over division; renew and strengthen civic institutions to accelerate inclusive problem-solving; and grow a more fair economy. As an enterprise that integrates social impact with financial results, the Unfinished portfolio includes a technology lab, a media initiative, and an entrepreneurial network of innovators working to advance our economy, democracy, and technology.

This additional investment advances the bright and bold future for the McCourt School, which includes a new home on Georgetown’s Capitol Campus that will provide a new space to unite the school’s research and teaching arms in downtown Washington, D.C., and a dynamic front door to Georgetown for the policy community.


Media Contact:

Ruth McBain
Media Relations Manager, Georgetown University