Mastercard donates $5M to Howard U. for data science studies

D.C.’s Howard University will use a $5 million grant from Mastercard to create the Center for Applied Data Sciences and Analytics.

The school says the new center will advance Howard as a major hub of data science for social impact research and training for the next generation of data scientists with expertise in how to eliminate racial bias in financial services. The center would not only work to eliminate biases in artificial intelligence, but would work to “foster greater racial equity in credit approval processes,” a news release said.

It will include a master’s degree in applied data science, and a thought leadership series on racial equity and inclusive growth, addressing algorithmic bias in financial services and specifically credit decisions affecting Black communities.

“The problem is critical to address since biases in AI can effectively block access to vital services,” said Salah Goss, senior vice president for Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth.

“Howard University is taking a novel approach to solving this problem by investing in a new generation of professionals who can combat the issue at its source.”

The new Center for Applied Data Sciences will launch this spring and will be located on Howard’s Northwest D.C. campus. It will prioritize the recruitment of tenure-track data science faculty members.

The Howard grant is part of $10 million announced for historically Black colleges and universities to close the racial wealth gap, including Morehouse College and Spelman College to help launch the Center for Black Entrepreneurship.

The Howard University Grant is part of Mastercard’s previously announced $500 million, five-year commitment to advance racial equity and economic opportunity for Black communities.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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