“Wealthy institutions like Harvard don’t need this money.”
Harvard is among the many Ivy League universities criticized over stimulus payments, as critics have argued that the schools should draw on their endowments, and not taxpayer money, to support students and faculty during the coronavirus pandemic.
Harvard was reprimanded in a debate, as its $40 billion endowments is the largest of any academic institution in the world. Yet the Harvard Crimson reported last week that the elite university in Cambridge, Mass. was receiving almost $9 million in funding from CARES Act, which critics including President Trump say should be earmarked for smaller businesses and schools.
“Harvard is going to pay back the money. They shouldn’t be taking it,” Trump said during his daily press briefing on Tuesday. “I’m 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. They’re going to pay back the money.”
Harvard initially responded in a Twitter on how it planned to disburse the funds which has since been retracted following trolls on social media.
“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,” the university said in a statement.
“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.”
A new tweet on Wednesday signified a remorseful tone suggesting the funds should go to less affluent colleges.
It concluded that it would be informing the Department of Education of its decision, with the hope that “special consideration will be given to Massachusetts institutions that are struggling to serve their communities and meet the needs of their students through these difficult and challenging times.”
Columbia and Cornell universities are receiving the largest rewards among the Ivies, at $12.8 million each. Yale will get $7 million, and Princeton will get around $2.5 million. The biggest allocation went to Arizona State University, which got $63.5 million.
Was it right for Havard to reject the Stimulus fund?
Harvard has noted that there is a misconception that schools can withdraw from endowments like taking cash out of a bank account, when “in reality, Harvard’s flexibility in spending from the endowment is limited by the fact that it must be maintained in perpetuity and that it is largely restricted.”