At the end of last week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., threw his support behind U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley’s, R-Mo., proposal to stop universities with endowments larger than $10 billion from getting federal stimulus funds during the coronavirus pandemic “unless they first spend some of their own money on coronavirus-related financial assistance for students with the greatest need.”
On Friday, Hawley brought out his proposal with Rubio, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., as cosponsors. U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio and U.S. Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va., will champion the companion bill in the U.S. House. Hawley’s bill would impact colleges and universities which received money under the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion federal stimulus passed and signed into law at the end of March.
“The wealthiest colleges and universities in the U.S., which are sitting on tens of billions of dollars in endowments, but extending a hand to federal taxpayers for relief funding need a reality check,” Rubio said on Friday. “The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic plaguing our nation has impacted millions of Americans — including students — who desperately need help to weather this storm. When there is a finite amount of money available for students, Congress should ensure aid is going to those who need it most, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in this effort to do exactly that.”
“Universities with massive endowments should not be getting taxpayer money unless they spend some money out of their own pockets to actually help their students,” Hawley said. “This is common sense. Relief funds were intended for schools that need it, not wealthy universities that sit on huge endowments. It’s greed, plain and simple, and it’s wrong.”
“Federal funds to help America through this unpreceded healthcare and economic crisis should be reserved for those who truly need it, and should not go to well-endowed universities,” Blackburn said.
“Universities with large endowments should not receive a dime of federal relief cash without first tapping into their own funds to help struggling students who have been impacted by this crisis,” McSally said. “Our legislation will compel universities to set aside a portion of their endowment funds to support suffering students before they can receive federal help.”
“This bill shouldn’t be controversial or partisan. If universities have large endowments, they should spend some of that endowment on their students first, before seeking a federal bailout,” Jordan said. “This legislation ensures that large universities are held accountable to taxpayers in the future, while at the same time directing funds to those actually in need. I’m proud to stand behind this important legislation with Senator Hawley and Congressman Cline.”
“Colleges and universities with multibillion-dollar endowments should not be requesting funds from the CARES Act,” Cline said. “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. This bill ensures that our nation’s wealthiest schools can no longer take advantage of coronavirus relief funding at the expense of the American taxpayer.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.