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Harvard Finagles $8.6M from Underfunded Emergency Grant Meant for Small Businesses

Harvard says [it plans] to keep stimulus grant after Trump vows it will be returned

By Steve Holland and Alexandra Alper | 22 April 2020

REUTERS — Harvard University [dba Harvard Corporation] said it plans to keep an $8.6 million grant it received as part of a stimulus package to blunt the economic impact of the coronavirus lockdown, contradicting U.S. President Donald Trump who pledged the university would return it.

Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, Trump pointed to the institution’s ample endowment – worth nearly $41 billion – as the reason why it should hand over the money.

“Harvard is going to pay back the money and they shouldn’t be taking it,” Trump said, adding that Harvard has one of the largest endowments “in the country, maybe in the world.”

In a statement issued moments after the briefing ended, however, Harvard said it planned “to direct 100% of the funds to financial assistance to students, and will not be using any of the funds to cover institutional costs.”

Trump said late on Tuesday that Harvard’s endowment system should be looked at.

“Harvard should give back the money now. Their whole “endowment” system should be looked at”, the U.S. president said in a tweet, which did not give further details

The university said it received the grant through the educational relief program that was part of the $2.3 trillion stimulus passed at the end of March, which also included a much larger fund aimed at helping small businesses. […]

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