After President Trump and others in his administration spoke out about Harvard receiving millions in stimulus funds, the Ivy League college has decided to refuse the money. Other Ivy League schools like Princeton and Stanford are following Harvard in refusing the money from the feds.
When President Trump questioned why the school needed assistance because it already has a large endowment fund, the heat was put on Harvard to refuse the money. They have an endowment fund of $40 billion so many questioned why they would need financial assistance even though they claimed it would be used to help students.
Harvard responded today with a statement saying they will refuse funds:
We have previously said that Harvard, like other institutions, will face significant financial challenges due to the pandemic and economic crisis it has caused. We are also concerned, however, that the intense focus by politicians and others on Harvard in connection with this program may undermine participation in a relief effort for the purpose of helping students and institutions whose financial challenges in the coming months may be most severe. As a result of this, and the evolving guidance being issued around the use of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, Harvard has decided not to seek or accept the funds allocated to it by statute.
The CARES Act provided Harvard with $8.6 million for higher education relief. The problem with this is that the money was supposed to go to struggling colleges and universities who have had to move to online classes and cancel sporting events that bring in revenue.
On Tuesday, President Trump said he wanted Harvard to pay the money back:
“Harvard should pay that money back. I want Harvard to pay the money back. Okay? And if they won’t do that, then we won’t do something else. They have to pay it back. I don’t like it.”
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also spoke out to say that Harvard should return the money:
“As I’ve said since day 1, wealthy institutions like @Harvard don’t need this money. They should follow Stanford’s lead & embrace the @ShakeShack principle…leave the $$ for those with the greatest need!”
DeVos was referring to fast-food giant Shake Shack who returned the $10 million they were given from the CARES Act.