Trump Demands Harvard Pay Back $8.6M

Trump Demands Harvard Pay Back $8.6M

The president said the Ivy League college, which is rated the wealthiest university in the world, took stimulus money meant to benefit small businesses under the CARES Act's Paycheck Protection Program, and demanded it pay back almost $9 million. The formula benefits large, public universities, but among higher education experts there was also growing concern that community colleges and institutions with more part-time, working students, didn't get enough help.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, Trump pointed to the institution's ample endowment - worth almost US$41 billion - as the reason why it should hand over the money.

"We are concerned that intense focus by politicians & others on Harvard in connection with the program may undermine participation in a relief effort Congress created & the president signed into law for the goal of helping those whose financial challenges may be most severe", Harvard whined.

Over social media, Harvard noted it never accepted funds through the Paycheck Protection Program.

But Harvard didn't receive any money from a fund granting loans to small businesses.

The school added, "President Trump is right that it would not have been appropriate for our institution to receive funds that were designated for struggling small businesses".

Trump on Tuesday demanded that Harvard return $8.6 million it received in coronavirus relief funding.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Trump cited Harvard's ample endowment - worth almost $41 billion - as the reason why it should not have the money. "They shouldn't be taking it".

Harvard is rated the world's wealthiest university with an endowment fund valued at $40bn.

But Harvard did not say it would pay the money back.

Harvard received nearly $8.7 million from that fund. Boston University received nearly $15 million, Boston College nearly $6.5 million, Northeastern University more than $11.6 million, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology more than $5 million and UMass Amherst more than $18 million.

In a statement issued moments after the briefing ended, however, Harvard said it planned "to direct 100% of the funds to financial assistance to students, and will not be using any of the funds to cover institutional costs".

But the university said the funds would help students facing "urgent financial needs" because of the pandemic.

Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, another top American university with a high endowment, said it would return the funds, and that it contacted the Department of Education to ask for its application for the cash to be "rescinded". "To the extent these companies didn't understand this and they repay the loans, that will be OK". Harvard promised it would fulfill its responsibilities toward students without the federal grant.

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