Harvard will not “seek or accept” the nearly $9 million in funds allocated to it by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, according to a Wednesday statement from University spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain.
Facing criticism from multiple members of Congress and the President of the United States, the University originally announced on Monday that it would allocate the entire $8.6 million to student financial relief.
“We have previously said that Harvard, like other institutions, will face significant financial challenges due to the pandemic and economic crisis it has caused,” Swain wrote. “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 that Congress created and the President signed into law for the purpose of helping students and institutions whose financial challenges in the coming months may be most severe.”
“As a result of this, and the evolving guidance being issued around use of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, Harvard has decided not to seek or accept the funds allocated to it by statute,” he added.
Stanford University and Princeton University both announced they would not accept CARES funding earlier Wednesday.
Swain wrote that the University hopes that the funding will be allocated to struggling universities in Massachusetts.
“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,” Swain wrote.
He added that Harvard remains “fully committed” to providing students with financial support.
—Staff writer Ellen M. Burstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ellenburstein.
—Staff writer Camille G. Caldera can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @camille_caldera.