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SEN.: Wealthy Univs. Should Spend Endowment $Billions$ Before Tapping Taxpayers for ‘Relief’

‘Not a single cent ever should be spent making rich universities even richer. They do enough harm to this country…’

(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said he planned to offer legislation that would block the Education Department from offering bailouts to wealthy universities until after they had dug into their own resources.

The $14 billion in higher-ed relief provided under a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill was designated to cover costs of the changes in delivery of educational services, as well as providing student assistance.

Hawley said that before becoming eligible, those with endowments larger than $10 billion should first have to spend 10 times the amount appropriated to them for the same education-related purposes.

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The freshman Missouri senator’s proposal immediately drew the interest of Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who said he would work on companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Hawley’s announcement followed a controversial bid by Harvard University—among the wealthiest schools in the world—to claim $9 million of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds earmarked in the emergency funding bill.

The Ivy League school announced on Wednesday that it would not accept the funds, but only after facing criticism from several Republican leaders, including Harvard alumna Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., who called the move “disgusting.”

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President Donald Trump also promised to make up the difference by finding other ways to take it out on Harvard.

“I want Harvard to pay the money back, OK?” Trump said during a press briefing Tuesday. “I don’t like it. This is meant for workers—this isn’t meant for one of the richest institutions.”

Although some elite schools, including fellow Ivy Leaguer Princeton and California’s Stanford University, announced they would not claim the funds, several others saw dollar signs.

In an opinion piece for Fox News, the network’s own Tucker Carlson called out a few of the well-endowed opportunists:

  • New York’s Columbia University laid claim to $12.8 million in bailout money, despite having an $11 billion endowment. Columbia President Lee Bollinger makes more than $2 million dollars a year.
  • University of Pennsylvania, another Ivy Leaguer with a $14.7 billion endowment, received $9.9 million. UPenn President Amy Gutmann makes nearly $3 million—about a third of the entire bailout.
  •  University of Michigan, a public school with more than $12 billion in the bank, claimed $25 million despite spending $8 million on football coach Jim Harbaugh.
  • Ohio State—Michigan’s longtime athletic rival—got $45 million in bailout money while paying its coaching staff $11 million with untested new head coach Ryan Day.
  • New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute claimed $4.8 million dollars in bailout money, which is less than University President Shirley Ann Jackson receives in salary.

Carlson noted that the tax subsidies come in spite of a growing public distrust with higher-education institutions.

Many universities have emphasized left-wing political agendas, indoctrination and influence-peddling over education fundamentals, while already gouging tuition costs to cover their inflating budgets of nanny-state social programming.

“[I]t shouldn’t take shame for Harvard to do the right thing. They should be decent enough to do it,” Carlson said.

“That’s a pipe dream; they’re not even close to decent,” he continued. “But in the absence of their decency, we need better laws. Not a single cent ever should be spent making rich universities even richer. They do enough harm to this country.”

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