- The Washington Times - Friday, May 1, 2020

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin called on well-funded private universities to return emergency coronavirus money Friday after Notre Dame became the latest school to give back the taxpayer-funded aid.

“It has come to our attention that some private schools with significant endowments have taken #PPP loans. They should return them,” Mr. Mnuchin tweeted, without naming names.

Notre Dame said it was rejecting the $6 million it was allocated from the $14 billion provision for higher education in the CARES Act. The school came under criticism from Sen. Mike Braun, Indiana Republican, who said in a letter that the money should be “redistributed to other schools that have an acute need for these emergency financial aid funds.”

Mr. Braun noted that the $6 million is less than .06% of the university’s $11 billion endowment.

“As a lifelong Catholic, I know we share similar values of charity,” he told the school.

Notre Dame originally had said it would keep the public money and use it “exclusively for direct financial aid to students whose families have been struck by unemployment or otherwise upended by the pandemic.”

The higher-ed aid became an issue when Harvard University, which has an endowment of about $40 billion, received nearly $9 million from the government. President Trump publicly shamed the university, which later announced it was turning down the money.

Duke, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale are other high-profile schools that have rejected the money.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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