WASHINGTON, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Harvard University said on Wednesday that it would not accept money from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's call for the university to return the funds.
"Harvard will not accept funds from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Like most colleges & universities, Harvard has been allocated funds as part of the CARES Act. Harvard did not apply for this support, nor has it requested, received or accessed the funds," Harvard said in a statement.
"We have previously said that Harvard, like other institutions, will face significant financial challenges due to the pandemic and economic crisis it has caused. 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," said the statement.
"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," said Harvard.
The decision came as Trump claimed that the university took coronavirus funding "meant for workers," when the funds designated to Harvard were from a separate source of federal funding within the CARES Act coronavirus package, according to a CNN report.
"I'm going to request it," Trump said at Tuesday's White House press briefing. "Harvard's going to pay back the money. They shouldn't be taking it."
Harvard joined Princeton and Stanford universities in deciding to not accept the funds provided to them by the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, said the CNN report.