Although the university did not apply for, request, receive or access the nearly $ 9 million in grants allocated to it, Harvard said the attention it received around the money was counterproductive to the relief they were designed to provide.
"The intense focus of politicians and others at Harvard in this program could undermine participation in a relief effort that Congress created and the President signed into law to help students and institutions whose financial challenges may be most severe in the coming months. "the university said in a statement.
"As a result of this, and the evolving guidance provided around the use of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, Harvard has decided not to seek or accept the funds granted it by law," the statement made clear that the university would ask the Department of Education to accept the return of the funds.
The University noted that reallocation of these resources is subject to the discretion of the Department of Education, but requested that special attention be paid to institutions in Massachusetts that are struggling to meet student needs.
"I'm going to ask for it," Trump said during the White House press release. "Harvard's going to pay back the money. They shouldn't take it."
When Trump originally asked Harvard not to accept his funds, the university maintained, and wrote in a statement released Tuesday, "Harvard did not apply for, and has not received, funds through the US Small Business Administration's Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program "Reports that say otherwise are inaccurate. President Trump is right that it would not have been appropriate for our institution to receive funds designed to fight small businesses."
Harvard's decision also comes when Education Secretary Betsy DeVos urged prosperous institutions to reject their allocation to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
"Congress requires by law that taxpayers receive emergency aid to all colleges and universities, regardless of wealth. But, as I've said all along, prosperous institutions that don't primarily serve low-income students don't need or deserve extra taxpayer funds. This is common sense. "Schools with high endowments should not apply for funds so that more can be given to students who need the most support. It's also important for Congress to change the law to ensure that no more taxpayer funds go to elite, wealthy institutions," DeVos said in a statement released Wednesday.
Cornell University, which is scheduled to receive the largest aid package – tied with Columbia University at $ 12.8 million – still plans to accept the funding it has been granted.
"Cornell will use 100 percent of these CARES Act funds to support students, and goes beyond the federal requirement that half of the funds be set toward financial aid for our students. We know many of our students will have increased needs as a result Although the Ithaca campus faces an expected COVID-related budget deficit of more than $ 100 million for the coming fiscal year, we aim to guarantee that each individual, currently enrolled or newly enrolled, has the financial resources to complete Cornell education, "said Cornell University Vice President of University Relations Joel Malina in a statement to CNN.