Harvard to return federal coronavirus relief

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) – Harvard University says it will turn down $8.7 million in federal coronavirus relief, a day after President Donald Trump ripped the wealthy Ivy League school over taxpayer money it stood to receive.

Similar action was taken at Stanford, Princeton and Yale universities, which said they too will reject millions of dollars in federal funding amid growing scrutiny of wealthy colleges.

Officials at Harvard said the school still faces significant financial challenges due to the pandemic but will refuse the money over concerns that “intense focus by politicians” will undermine the relief program created by Congress.

Trump later thanked Harvard and Stanford at a White House press conference, saying he was pleased the schools turned down the funding.

Congress is offering $14 billion to the nation’s colleges and universities as part of a $2.2 trillion rescue package. Schools were allotted varying sums based on their size and the number of students they teach from poorer backgrounds.

But Trump says Harvard “shouldn’t be taking” its share because it has such deep financial reserves. It echoed concerns from other critics, including some alumni, who said Harvard doesn’t need the money and can rely on its nearly $40 billion endowment.

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