President Donald Trump on April 21 accused Harvard University of “taking” funds from the federal governments CCP virus relief package, and requested that the institution return the money.
The president said the Ivy League college, which is rated the wealthiest university in the world, took stimulus money intended to benefit small businesses under the CARES Acts Paycheck Protection Program, and demanded it pay back nearly $9 million.
“I want Harvard to pay that money back, OK? If they wont do that, we wont do something else,” Trump said during Tuesdays White House CCP virus briefing. “They shouldnt be taking it.”
The White House has faced mounting scrutiny in recent days as the Small Business Administrations Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)—which was passed last month as part of the third stimulus package—ran out of money, meaning no new loans could be issued until it was replenished.
“They have to pay it back, I dont like it,” Trump continued. “This is meant for workers, this isnt meant for one of the richest institutions, not only, far beyond schools in the world. They got to pay it back.”
“Im not going to mention any other names, but when I saw Harvard—they have one of the largest endowments anywhere in the country, maybe in the world. Theyre going to pay back the money,” he added.
Harvard University, which has an endowment fund valued at $40 billion, pushed back against the claims and said the federal funds it received are part of a separate fund intended for academic institutions under the CARES Act, which reserved $12.5 billion in federal aid to some 5,000 universities and colleges.
The institution said in a statement that the $8.6 million it received would be used solely to help students facing “urgent financial needs” because of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic. It did not state whether it would be returning the funds.
“Like most colleges and universities, Harvard has been allocated funds as part of the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund,” Harvard University said.
(1/5) Harvard did not apply for, nor has it received any funds through the U.S. Small Business Administrations Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses. Reports saying otherwise are inaccurate.
— Harvard University (@Harvard) April 21, 2020
“Harvard has committed that 100 percent of these emergency higher education funds will be used to provide direct assistance to students facing urgent financial needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the college said on Twitter.
“President Trump is right that it would not have been appropriate for our institution to receive funds that were designated for struggling small businesses,” it said. “This financial assistance will be on top of the support the university has already provided to students—including assistance with travel, providing direct aid for living expenses to those with need, and supporting students transition to online education,” it added.
Yale University, which which has an endowment fund valued at $30 billion, is receiving $6.9 million in federal aid from the stimulus bills Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, while Princeton, which has an endowment fund valued at $26 billion, will receive $2.4 million.