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Cambridge, MA–The debate over the distribution of federal funds to small businesses has settled over some new battlefields this week: the campuses of wealthy universities across the country.
Harvard University, a prestigious school with a vast alumni base, has an estimated endowment of $41 billion. It became the latest institution to announce it would turn down money from the recent federal relief package.
Harvard spokesman Jason Newton said late Tuesday, “Harvard did not apply for, nor has it received any funds through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. Reports saying otherwise are inaccurate. President Trump is right that it would not have been appropriate for our institution to receive funds that were designated for struggling small businesses,” he continued.
Harvard is not the only university that received his type of funding through the stimulus bill. According to the New York TImes, the amount Harvard received was in line with other Ivy League schools, with Cornell and Columbia Universities receiving more. Approximately $12.8 million each; Stanford received $7.3 million and Yale $6.8 million.
Other non-Ivy League private universities, such as Boston University, NYU, the University of Southern California, Liberty University, and Brigham Young University and more, also received funding under the stimulus.
Of the 6,600 current undergraduate students at Harvard, 16% are Pell Grant recipients. Harvard also noted that in the 2018-2019 academic year alone, the university provided more than $200 million in scholarships for its undergrads.
The President tweeted: “Harvard should give back the money now. Their whole ‘endowment’ system should be looked at!”
Harvard should give back the money now. Their whole “endowment” system should be looked at! https://t.co/LcjOcsnCWT
The CARES Act provides $14 billion in assistance to colleges and universities with the stipulation that half of the money must be used for emergency financial aid for undergraduate and graduate students in need to “help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus,” according to a letter from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to college and university presidents.
The PPP, which helps businesses with under 500 employees obtain loans that can convert eight weeks of their payroll, benefits, rent, and other expenses, was created as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that passed last month.
The new deal, which came after days of delays driven by Democrats’ demands, would provide more than $300 billion for the PPP, among other funding.