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Harvard Could Be Eligible For $25 Million In Relief Funds Under Latest Stimulus Package, Per Report

Harvard may be eligible to receive nearly $25.5 million in aid from the latest federal stimulus package, according to an analysis published Monday by the American Council on Education.
Harvard may be eligible to receive nearly $25.5 million in aid from the latest federal stimulus package, according to an analysis published Monday by the American Council on Education. By Megan M. Ross
By Virginia L. Ma and Kevin A. Simauchi, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard may be eligible to receive nearly $25.5 million in aid from the latest federal stimulus package, according to an analysis published Monday by the American Council on Education, a higher education interest group.

President Joe Biden’s signature stimulus bill, which has been dubbed the “American Rescue Plan,” allocates just under $40 billion in relief funds to thousands of colleges and universities to cover pandemic-related expenses.

The bill — which Biden signed into law March 11 — stipulates that the government will prioritize relief funds to institutions with endowments of less than $1 million. Regardless, Harvard remains eligible to receive funds, even though the University’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion.

Funding allocations will be determined based on several factors, including the number of students receiving Pell Grants, the number of students enrolled full-time, and the number of students enrolled exclusively online at the beginning of the pandemic.

Though the previous round of emergency relief for higher education placed restrictions on allocations to universities subject to the endowment tax, the latest bill does not impose the same constraints. Institutions that paid the endowment tax in 2019 — those with at least 500 students and at least $500,000 in assets per student — had allocations reduced by 50 percent in the relief bill passed by Congress in December 2020.

The bill as written would distribute significantly more aid than the $9 million and $7 million that Harvard was eligible to receive from the March and December bills, respectively.

In April 2020, Harvard ultimately rejected the $9 million it was eligible for after receiving backlash from then-President Donald Trump and several members of Congress.

The University decided not to seek funding from the second stimulus package, citing concerns that uneven guidelines in December’s relief funding would have deprived undocumented students of aid.

University spokesperson Jason A. Newton declined to comment on whether Harvard plans to accept the latest round of funding.

“The University is reviewing the legislation and its implementation at this time,” Newton wrote in an email.

The Department of Education has not yet released official guidance for allocating the relief funds. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

—Crimson Staff Writer Virginia L. Ma can be reached at virginia.ma@thecrimson.com.

—Crimson Staff Writer Kevin A. Simauchi can be reached at kevin.simauchi@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @Simauchi.

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