Donald Trump vowed that Harvard would be expected to pay back their $8.7 million in federal aid received from coronavirus rescue funds.
“Harvard’s going to pay back the money and they shouldn’t be taking it,” Trump said bluntly during the White House press briefing.
Harvard received a grant from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, even though it already has a $41 billion endowment fund.
The money was allocated to Harvard from the $12 billion in funds allotted in the CARES act as part of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. (The Higher Education Relief Fund is separate from the Paycheck Protection Program, that ran out of money last week)
But Harvard’s grant prompted criticism of the bill, which was rushed forward in Congress to help support small businesses and colleges who needed the funds, simply to stay afloat.
Harvard defended its acquisition of a grant from the CARES act.
“Harvard has committed that 100 percent 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,” Jonathan Swain of the Harvard Public Affairs and Communications Department said in a statement to Breitbart News.
But Trump was adamant that Harvard needed to pay back the grant.
“They have one of the largest endowments anywhere in the country, maybe in the world, I guess,” Trump said. “And they’re going to pay back that money. They shouldn’t have taken it.”
The CARES act has also received criticism after publicly traded companies received forgivable loans from the bill that was meant to help small businesses, despite having available capital.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin criticized the businesses for taking advantage of a program that was intended for small businesses.
He said that a FAQ would be released by the Treasury Department to help limit loans to big companies.
“I’m asking people to remember the intent of this money was for businesses that needed the money,” he said. “Not big public companies that have access to capital.”