President Donald Trump has hit out at Harvard, world's richest university, for accepting an $8.6 million virus aid. "I don't like it at all. This is meant for workers", Trump said on Tuesday in his daily White House press briefing.
Under the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Harvard University received $8.6 million. Trump, who recently announced a temporary ban on immigration to protect American workers, called out the university for accepting the money that "is meant for the workers".
"Harvard, you pay that money back. I want Harvard to pay the money back, ok? And if they don't do that, then we'll do something else", Trump said. "I don't like it at all. This is meant for workers. This isn't meant for one of the richest institutions ... in the world", the US President, who is himself worth over $2 billion, said in his daily press briefing.
Harvard, the richest university in the world, was valued at $40.9 billion in 2019, AFP reported.
Harvard draws flak
At a time when the coronavirus pandemic left 22 million Americans without jobs, the world's richest university received backlash for accepting the virus aid.
'Harvard, America's Richest University, Grabs Nearly $9 Million In Taxpayer CARES Aid', read a Huffington Post headline. 'Harvard under fire for accepting more than $8M in coronavirus relief package. Harvard has a $40 billion endowment', wrote Boston Herald.
On Comedy Central last night, Trevor Noah said Harvard was "just being greedy". "The last time Harvard got this much money out of the blue, they had to accept Jared Kushner", joked Comedy Central's The Daily Show on Twitter.
"So rather than going to a small business that actually needs the money, Harvard, with a $40 billion endowment and professors that keep getting arrested for giving research secrets to the Chinese Government takes $9,000,000 they don't need so a small business can't. What a joke!", tweeted President's son Donald Trump Jr.
Harvard University reacts
"By federal formula laid out in the CARES Act, Harvard was allocated $8.6 million, with 50% of those funds to be reserved for grants to students. Harvard will actually allocate 100% of the funds to financial assistance for students", the university tweeted. "By federal formula laid out in the CARES Act, Harvard was allocated $8.6 million, with 50% of those funds to be reserved for grants to students. Harvard will actually allocate 100% of the funds to financial assistance for students", it added further.
"President Trump is right that it would not have been appropriate for our institution to receive funds that were designated for struggling small businesses", the University said further.
Why is Harvard University getting $8.6 million?
Under the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by the US Congress on March 27, a provision of $12.5 billion federal aid was allocated for some 5,000 institutions of higher education, Forbes reported.
The aid favors institutions with large numbers of students on federal Pell grants, under which grants are provided to to students from low- and moderate-income families. As many as 16% of Harvard students are under Pell grants, which explains the $8.6 million virus aid.