Bringing his total philanthropic contributions to the university to more than $400 million, David Geffen has made a new $100 million donation to UCLA, allowing the university to proceed with plans to launch a college preparatory academy aimed at Los Angeles area students from grades 6 through 12. The new school, which grew out of an earlier suggestion made by Geffen, will be named the Geffen Academy at UCLA.
The Geffen Academy will focus on building competency both in core academic pillars, and a broad spectrum of cross-disciplinary coursework, with students given access to University facilities beyond traditional secondary school programs. In addition, when appropriate Geffen Academy students also will be able to take college-level courses.
The donation will help fund a financial aid program for low and middle income students: UCLA is projecting that aid will go to more than 40% of accepted students. It will also establish an endowment worth $30 million, with $5 million designated to allow the university’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies to link UCLA’s existing network of primary and secondary partner schools with the Geffen Academy. Further, the donation provides immediate support for facility renovations, curriculum and faculty development, and other needed tasks required for the school’s launch on the UCLA campus.
UCLA’s current K-12 schools and partner schools are the on-campus UCLA Lab School (preschool through grade 6), the UCLA Community School (grades K through 12) and four public schools near campus open to the children of UCLA employees. In addition to benefitting the local community, the Geffen Academy is also expected to improve the university’s recruitment and retention of academic talent, by increasing the availability of college preparatory education for their children.
The admissions and application process, curriculum, financial aid guidelines, strategic partnerships and other aspects of the academy will be finalized over 2016, and UCLA anticipates that the school will open for the 2017-18 school year with approximately 125 students enrolled in the sixth and ninth grades. The program will eventually expand to more than 600 students in grades 6 through 12. UCLA plans to renovate the campus’s Kinross Building to house the academy, with adjacent building construction to follow as enrollment grows. Enrollment is to be split evenly between applicants from the Los Angeles community and children of UCLA faculty and staff.
David Geffen is already the largest individual donor to the university. In 2012, he established a scholarship fund worth $100 million that fully covers costs for top students attending the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. A decade earlier, Geffen made an unrestricted gift of $200 million to the medical school, and has also donated to UCLA’s theater and arts programs. His current donation is part of UCLA’s $4.2 billion Centennial Campaign, expected to finish in December 2019.