Harvard to return $8.7M coronavirus relief funding from CARES Act

Announcement comes after President Trump said administration would make university pay it back

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Ivy League power school Harvard University announced in a series of tweets Wednesday that it will return its $8.7 million in CARES Act relief funding just a day after criticism from President Trump during a coronavirus task force briefing.

"Like most colleges and universities, Harvard has been allocated funds as part of the CARES Act. Harvard did not apply for this support, nor has it requested, received or accessed the funds," the university said. "We are concerned that intense focus by politicians and others on Harvard in connection with the program may undermine participation in a relief effort Congress created and the president signed into law for the purpose of helping those whose financial challenges may be most severe"

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On Tuesday, Trump claimed Harvard was part of a handful of companies that had taken small business relief from the Paycheck Protection Program and said that the college, who has "one of the largest endowments anywhere in the country, maybe in the world,” was going to pay back any of the money it received.

Harvard immediately set the record straight, saying it "did not apply for, nor has it received any funds through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses" and that any reports saying otherwise were inaccurate.

The university did, however, acknowledge receiving funds from the CARES Act, saying 100 percent of the funding was being allocated for "direct assistance to students facing urgent financial needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic."

According to thebestschools.com, Harvard is the richest college in the country with an endowment worth more than $40 billion.

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The university said in a statement that it will notify the Department of Education of its decision immediately and is encouraging the funding to be swiftly reallocated to those who need it.

"While we understand any reallocation of these resources is a matter for the Department of Education, we 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," Harvard added. "Harvard remains fully committed to providing the financial support that it has promised to its students."

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