Penn will not accept funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, following widespread criticism that peer institutions with large endowments would receive federal aid.
Penn was set to receive $9.9 million under the CARES Act, at least half of which would have been distributed as emergency aid to students to cover anything under the cost of attendance which includes food, housing, and technology. The remainder of the funds would have covered costs associated with the shift to online learning due to coronavirus.
"Despite the serious financial impact to Penn as a result of the pandemic, after analyzing the full scope of the regulations involved, Penn has determined that it will not apply for nor accept the funds that would be available through the CARES Act," the University announced in a Penn Today press release.
The announcement comes one day after Harvard University, Princeton University, and Yale University rejected CARES Act funding. 1968 Wharton graduate and President Donald Trump questioned why Harvard, with a $41 billion endowment, would need federal assistance for coronavirus relief, prompting backlash against Harvard that led to the school declining the federal aid.
Although Penn is declining to apply for the CARES funds, Penn Today reported that the University is committed to providing financial aid to students in need.
The University announced on Tuesday it will provide supplemental grants for students on financial aid to cover the summer savings expectation for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Penn's Vice President of Finance and Treasurer MaryFrances McCourt previously wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian that the University had not finalized how it would spend the federal aid money. Penn Today clarified that the University will not apply for the CARES Act funding.