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Harvard became a lightning rod for criticism this week after President Trump criticized the university, the wealthiest in the country, for $8.6 million in taxpayer money that it was slated to receive as part of an emergency relief package for higher education.
The university, with an endowment of nearly $41 billion, announced Wednesday that it would not accept the aid. At least two other elite universities, Princeton and Stanford, said they too would not be taking the money designated to them through the $14 billion Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
At least half of the money going toward universities must be reserved for emergency financial grants to students impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the legislation, part of the $2 trillion CARES Act. In addition to helping cover tuition, the money could be spent on extra technology, food and housing costs. The remaining balance can go toward costs incurred by universities.
Recipients of the aid ranged from Ivy League universities to beauty schools, with about 5,000 colleges, universities and trade schools set to receive the money.
The money is allocated based on the number of full-time Pell Grant recipients and total in-person enrollment before the switch to online classes. To obtain the aid, universities have to request it from the Department of Education.
The average school spends about 4.6 percent of its endowment each year, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. Endowments consist of thousands of different investment accounts, many of which are restricted by donors in how they can be spent -- whether it's on scholarships, professorships, the library or the football team.
Despite the backlash against Harvard and other elite universities, they were nowhere close to cracking the list of colleges receiving the most aid.
These are the 10 universities that received the most aid from the stimulus plan -- and how it compares to the size of their endowment.
1. Arizona State University
Endowment: $922 million as of June 2019
2. Penn State
Endowment: $4.46 billion as of June 2019
3. Rutgers University
Endowment: $1.47 billion as of June 2019
4. University of Central Florida:
Endowment: $164.7 million as of June 2019
5. Miami Dade College:
Endowment: $486 million as of June 2018
6. Georgia State University:
Endowment: $164.2 million as of June 2019
7. California State University, Northridge
Endowment: $110 million as of June 2018
8. Ohio State
Endowment: $5.26 billion as of June 2019
9. California State University, Long Beach
Endowment: $77.1 million as of June 2018
10. California State University, Fullerton
Endowment: $68.7 million as of June 2019