Rep. Ben Cline, R-Botetourt, joined Republicans in introducing a bill that would prohibit higher education institutions with large endowments from receiving coronavirus federal emergency funding.
Under the proposal, colleges and universities with an endowment greater than $10 billion could not receive funds Congress authorized last month as part of its coronavirus relief package. Any institutions with an endowment that size that received funds would have to return them. Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin, and Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, joined in supporting the legislation.
The legislation follows several universities, including Harvard, Princeton and Stanford, rejecting federal emergency funding available to them after criticism by lawmakers and President Donald Trump.
“Colleges and universities with multi-billion-dollar endowments should not be requesting funds from the CARES Act,” Cline said in a statement. “Money allocated through this legislation should be reserved for businesses and institutions in need, not entities that have virtually unlimited resources through their foundations and endowments.”
Endowments are not set up as bank accounts that higher education institutions can withdraw money from and use it however they’d like. They’re composed of numerous donations that are often earmarked for specific purposes specified in gift agreements. There are also various other regulations, depending on the state, such as overspending from endowments.
Colleges and universities across the country are struggling with significant financial losses brought on by the coronavirus as they’ve closed campuses and moved classes online.