Harvard Will No Longer Accept Pandemic Funding After Trump Comments

April 22, 2020 Updated: April 22, 2020

Harvard University announced it will no longer accept funding that was allocated to it via an emergency CCP virus aid package, coming a day after President Donald Trump questioned why the Ivy League university needed assistance.

“We have previously said that Harvard, like other institutions, will face significant financial challenges due to the pandemic and economic crisis it has caused,” the university said in a statement on Wednesday. “We are also concerned however, that the intense focus by politicians and others on Harvard in connection with this program may undermine participation in a relief effort… for the purpose of helping students and institutions whose financial challenges in the coming months may be most severe.”

Harvard said that due to the “evolving guidance being issued around use of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund,” it will “not to seek or accept the funds allocated to it by statute.”

The $2.2 trillion CARES Act, passed in March, included a provision to help colleges during the pandemic. It was meant to assist universities and colleges struggling with financial shortfalls due to the virus, forcing both classes and revenue-creating sporting events to shutter.

lawrence bacow
Chinese leader Xi Jinping talks to Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow and his wife Adele Fleet Bacow at The Great Hall Of The People in Beijing, China on March 20, 2019. (Andrea Verdelli/Pool/Getty Images)

Trump on Tuesday focused on Harvard as some critics noted that large companies received federal loans that were intended to help small businesses in the wake of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus crisis.

“Harvard should pay that money back. I want Harvard to pay the money back,” Trump said during a CCP virus news briefing at the White House. He added: “If they won’t do that, then we won’t do something else. They have to pay it back. I don’t like it.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also criticized Harvard, saying it needs to forgo its payment. Reports have said that Harvard has a more than $40 billion endowment.

“As I’ve said since day 1, wealthy institutions like @Harvard don’t need this money,” DeVos wrote on Twitter. “They should follow Stanford’s lead & embrace the @ShakeShack principle – leave the $$ for those with the greatest need!”

DeVos referred to the fact that the Shake Shack firm, which, according to reports, has about 8,000 employees and nearly 200 locations. The firm said this week it would return $10 million in bailout funding it received via the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that was included in the CARES Act.

Last month, Lawrence Bacow, the president of Harvard, told students and faculty that he tested positive for the CCP virus.

“We started experiencing symptoms on Sunday—first coughs then fevers, chills, and muscle aches—and contacted our doctors on Monday. We were tested yesterday and just received the results a few minutes ago. We wanted to share this news with all of you as soon as possible,” he wrote in late March.

Bacow, the 29th president of Harvard, and his wife met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing on March 20, 2019. The new virus emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019.