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Josh Hawley, Jim Jordan Propose to Restrict Universities with Large Endowments from Receiving Aid
Posted by on April 22, 2020 | comments
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By: SEAN MORAN  April 22, 2020

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Rep Jim Jordan (R-OH) said on Wednesday that they plan to introduce legislation that would bar universities with “massive” endowments from federal aid unless their plan to use the endowments to help students and cover the costs of the coronavirus.

“Department of Education should adopt a rule now that stops federal aid to universities with massive endowments (like Harvard) UNLESS schools spend down some of that endowment to help students & cover this emergency,” Hawley wrote on Wednesday.

Hawley then said that he plans to introduce legislation to limit universities’ access to federal aid:

I will introduce legislation to bar the Department of Ed from giving federal relief funds to universities with massive endowments UNLESS and UNTIL those universities actually spend some of those endowments to help their students and cover costs of this emergency. I’m tired of hearing from university execs that “it wouldn’t be prudent” to tap their endowments in this crisis. Fine. But don’t come begging federal taxpayers for money while you sit on billions in endowment funds and students suffer.

In response to Hawley, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said that he will cosponsor the House companion bill.

“Great idea, Senator. Sounds like you need a companion bill,” Jordan wrote. “Happy to work with you.”

“Let’s do it,” Hawley replied.

Hawley and Jordan’s announcement follows as Breitbart News reported on Monday that several Ivy League institutions, including Harvard University, received federal bailouts even though many of them have billions of dollars in their endowments. For instance, Harvard has roughly $40.0 billion in its endowment.

Harvard University reportedly received $8.6 million in federal bailout funds from the CARES Act.

Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow initially resisted calls to dip into the university’s large endowment fund. He said last week:

Some of you may be wondering why we can’t just dip into the endowment to support us through these difficult times. We do intend to distribute as much from the endowment as we responsibly can, but there are limitations to the endowment’s capacity. Because of the recent declines in the markets, the endowment, while still large, is not as large as it was previously. As it shrinks, it has less capacity to support our existing operations, especially as other shortfalls in revenue sources loom.

On Tuesday, Harvard had said that it planned to keep the federal aid, promising to use it for student financial assistance.

Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said on Wednesday that she urging Congress to change the CARES Act to ensure that wealthy schools cannot tap into the emergency funds reserved for less wealthy schools. DeVos said:

Congress required by law that taxpayer Emergency Relief funds be given to all colleges and universities, no matter their wealth. But as I’ve said all along, wealthy institutions that do not primarily serve low-income students do not need or deserve additional taxpayer funds. This is common sense. Schools with large endowments should not apply for funds so more can be given to students who need support the most. It’s also important for Congress to change the law to make sure no more taxpayer funds go to elite, wealthy institutions.

Harvard announced on Wednesday that they will not take the $8.6 million in aid that was granted as part of the CARES Act.

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