Harvard Statement on Decision to Not Accept Funds from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

April 22, 2020

There has been confusion in recent days about funds allocated to Harvard as part of the CARES Act.

Like most colleges and universities, Harvard has been allocated funds as part of the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Harvard did not apply for this support, nor has it requested, received or accessed these funds.

We have previously said that Harvard, like other institutions, will face significant financial challenges due to the pandemic and economic crisis it has caused. We are also concerned however, that the intense focus by politicians and others on Harvard in connection with this program may undermine participation in a relief effort that Congress created and the President signed into law for the purpose of helping students and institutions whose financial challenges in the coming months may be most severe. As a result of this, and the evolving guidance being issued around use of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, Harvard has decided not to seek or accept the funds allocated to it by statute.

We will inform the Department of Education of our decision and encourage the department to act swiftly to reallocate resources previously allocated to Harvard. While we understand any reallocation of these resources is a matter for the Department of Education, we hope that special consideration will be given to Massachusetts institutions that are struggling to serve their communities and meet the needs of their students through these difficult and challenging times.

Harvard remains fully committed to providing the financial support that it has promised to its students.