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Columbia University officials are planning to keep more than $12 million in federal coronavirus relief allocated by the government despite several other prominent institutions’ decisions to reject the funds, according to a report.
“There’s no change as of now,” a university spokesperson told the New York Daily News on Thursday.
A rep confirmed the statement when contacted by FOX Business, and also confirmed that Columbia did not apply for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Columbia University, which has an $11 billion endowment, was allotted $12.8 million in aid, but wealthy colleges are facing pressure to reject the funding.
Harvard announced Wednesday it would turn down the relief funds, and Stanford, Princeton and Yale Universities have taken similar action.
President Trump said Tuesday that Harvard University “shouldn’t be taking” its $8.7 million share because it has such deep financial reserves. He echoed concerns from other critics, including some alumni, who said Harvard doesn't need the money and can rely on its nearly $40 billion endowment.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday said other rich schools should reject the funding. Affluent schools that do not primarily serve low-income students “do not need or deserve additional taxpayer funds," she said in a statement.
“Schools with large endowments should not apply for funds so more can be given to students who need support the most. It’s also important for Congress to change the law to make sure no more taxpayer funds go to elite, wealthy institutions,” she said.
Columbia ranks fifth on the list of Ivy League institutions with the highest endowments, trailing Harvard, Yale and Princeton, according to the News.
The higher education funding was meant to help colleges and students facing financial losses triggered by the pandemic. If colleges accept the funding, they're required to spend at least half on direct grants for students.
Major public universities received many of the largest shares, including Arizona State University, which was granted $63.5 million, and the Pennsylvania State University system, with $55 million.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.