Sen. Hawley rolls out invoice to dam universities with massive endowments from receiving tens of millions in coronavirus assist

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Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introduced a invoice this week that might prohibit universities from receiving tens of millions in coronavirus reduction if they’ve an endowment bigger than $10 billion, amid the controversy surrounding rich universities that have been deemed eligible for the help.

“Universities with huge endowments shouldn’t be getting taxpayer cash until they spend some cash out of their very own pockets to really assist their college students,” Hawley mentioned in an announcement. “That is widespread sense. Reduction funds have been meant for faculties that want it, not rich universities that sit on big endowments. It’s greed, plain and easy, and it’s fallacious.”

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Sens. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., co-sponsored Hawley’s laws.

Below the proposal, universities with greater than $10 billion in endowments must spend 10 occasions the quantity appropriated to them in accordance with the components within the coronavirus stimulus bundle, often known as CARES Act, to be eligible for federal reduction funds. The college would additionally should exhibit it spent the cash on the identical makes use of of funds required by the CARES Act, together with emergency monetary assist grants to college students to cowl prices like meals, housing, well being care and youngster care, and prices associated to the disruption to the supply of instruction through the coronavirus pandemic.

Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Ben Cline, R-Va., are additionally introducing companion laws to Hawley’s invoice within the Home of Representatives.

“This invoice shouldn’t be controversial or partisan. If universities have massive endowments, they need to spend a few of that endowment on their college students first, earlier than looking for a federal bailout,” Jordan mentioned in an announcement. “This laws ensures that enormous universities are held accountable to taxpayers sooner or later, whereas on the identical time directing funds to these really in want. I’m proud to face behind this vital laws with Senator Hawley and Congressman Cline.”

“Part 3” of the coronavirus stimulus bundle, which handed in late March, included the Larger Training Emergency Reduction Fund which, in whole, supplied greater than $14 billion in assist for faculties and universities. The legislation allotted a certain quantity of funds to all faculties that take part in federal pupil assist packages, by a funding components based mostly on the variety of college students receiving federal monetary assist by Pell Grants and on total institutional pupil enrollment.

The principles of this system direct that 50 % of the funds be used as direct financial-assistance grants to college students with the remaining cash used to cowl prices incurred by the school or college associated to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In accordance with knowledge from the Division of Training, even faculties with the most important endowments have been eligible to obtain tens of millions of {dollars} below this system. With the intention to entry the funds, all establishments have been required to signal and return a “Certificates of Funding and Settlement.”

The laws comes after Training Secretary Betsy DeVos final week argued that whereas the invoice technically makes funds out there to all universities and faculties, irrespective of their monetary state of affairs, these faculties with massive endowments mustn’t apply for the help and Congress ought to change the legislation.

“Rich establishments that don’t primarily serve low-income college students don’t want or deserve further taxpayer funds. That is widespread sense,” DeVos mentioned. “Colleges with massive endowments mustn’t apply for funds so extra could be given to college students who want assist essentially the most. It is also vital for Congress to vary the legislation to ensure no extra taxpayer funds go to elite, rich establishments.”

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The controversy started when Harvard College got here below fireplace for looking for tens of millions in coronavirus reduction, earlier than declining the funds within the face of political stress.

Harvard College, in accordance with 2019 knowledge, has the nation’s largest endowment valuing almost $40 billion. The college had vowed to present all $8.6 million of federal funding to college students “going through pressing monetary wants” earlier than declining the funding completely below stress from President Trump.

However different universities with equally massive endowments have been additionally eligible for the funds.

Yale College, which has the second-largest endowment of almost $30 billion, mentioned that it will not settle for the $6.9 million out there to the college, and Stanford College, which has the third-largest endowment of almost $27 billion, adopted swimsuit, asking that the Division of Training rescind its utility for $7.Three million in coronavirus assist.

Princeton College, which has an endowment of $25 billion, additionally mentioned that they’d not settle for the tens of millions of {dollars} in help, and famous that they “didn’t request these funds” to start with.

In the meantime, the College of Notre Dame, which has an endowment valuing $11 billion, final week mentioned that they had not but utilized for the funding, and in the event that they did, the college would “use it solely for eligible college students whose households have been hit hardest by unemployment or in any other case upended by the coronavirus.”

The college is eligible for a complete of $5.7 million.

This week, Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., penned a letter to the president of Notre Dame urging the college to forgo the stimulus cash “so it may be redistributed to different faculties which have an acute want for these emergency monetary assist funds. On this method, we can assist much more college students who’re at present going through monetary hardships because of this disaster.”

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