Northwestern University announced this week that it will reject $8.5 million in federal coronavirus aid that it is eligible for under the CARES Act. In April, President Donald Trump joined the public in criticizing wealthy institutions like Harvard University, which boasts an endowment of $40 billion, for accepting federal coronavirus aid.
According to a report by the College Fix, Northwestern University will reject $8.5 million in federal aid that it is eligible for under the CARES Act, a coronavirus relief bill that was approved by Congress in March. Northwestern University currently holds an endowment of $11 billion.
Breitbart News reported in April that President Trump had put pressure on Harvard University to return $8.7 million in federal aid that they were eligible for under the CARES Act. “They have one of the largest endowments anywhere in the country, maybe in the world, I guess,” Trump said at a press conference. “And they’re going to pay back that money. They shouldn’t have taken it.” After initially announcing plans to accept the funds, Harvard reversed course.
In a letter to the Northwestern University community that was published on April 16, however, President Morton Schapiro argued that the university would struggle as a result of the Chinese virus pandemic.
In addition to the current financial challenges, we also need to prepare our institution for potentially more financial disruptions. Philanthropy may decrease, as our alumni and supporters face financial challenges of their own. Research funding from private or government sources may decline. Enrollment in certain programs may not reach pre-pandemic levels. And certain community-defining activities, such as Athletics, may be severely impacted. Finally, our return to on-campus instruction in the summer or fall is not guaranteed.
Northwestern is one of several wealthy institutions to reject federal coronavirus relief. Breitbart News reported last week that the University of Pennsylvania will reject $10 million in CARES Act funds. Princeton and Yale also announced that they would reject millions in federal relief despite citing concerns about financial burdens imposed on each institution as a result of the pandemic.
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