‘This is meant for workers—this isn’t meant for one of the richest institutions…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) After facing heavy criticism from Republican leaders, Harvard University agreed Wednesday not to accept the $9 million it received from Congress’s $2.2 trillion relief package, the Boston Herald reported.
Republican lawmakers had demanded that the high-dollar, Ivy League institution, which has the largest endowment of any university in the world, make the funds available to schools that needed it more.
The fact that Harvard hadn’t willingly returned the money was “disgusting,” said Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.
“I got a master’s from Harvard, but they need to give that money back,” McSally told Fox News. “It came from another pot of money but still they have a $40 billion dollar endowment. They should help struggling students with that.”
The CARES Act allocated funding for universities and colleges and did not include means testing. As a result, schools like Harvard, with its $40.9 billion endowment, were able to receive federal assistance.
Other elite schools, including Stanford and Princeton universities, refused the funds.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump weighed in during his daily press briefing, saying if Harvard refused he would find other ways to reclaim the loss.
“I want Harvard to pay the money back, OK?” Trump said. “I don’t like it. This is meant for workers—this isn’t meant for one of the richest institutions.”
However, Harvard initially said it has no intention of returning the $9 million and will instead allocate that funding to its financial-aid department.
(4/5) Harvard has committed that 100% 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.
— Harvard University (@Harvard) April 21, 2020
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said he already had asked the Trump administration to rescind billions of dollars from Harvard and other wealthy institutions that do not need further assistance.
“The university whose mission is to educate the ‘citizen-leaders for our society’ should show some leadership of their own and return this money,” Scott said in a statement.
“If they continue to refuse to do so, I’m urging the President to immediately submit the rescission request to Congress that I called for two weeks ago so we can rescind the funding to Harvard and other wealthy higher education institutions,” he said.