Stanford won't accept $7.4M relief funds; other universities will take the money

Stanford University said it won't accept federal coronavirus-relief funds, though other Bay Area private universities with millions of dollars in endowments plan to accept a portion of the federal stimulus package.

The Mercury News reported that Stanford withdrew its CARES Act application, the same day Harvard University reversed its plan to accept the federal money. 

Stanford had been allocated $7.4 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief funds. The prestigious school in Palo Alto, also has a $28 billion endowment.

“Like all universities, Stanford is facing significant financial pressures during this time of unprecedented uncertainty,” the school said in a Wednesday news release. “The combination of lost revenue, increased costs, and a market downturn that could have a substantial impact on our endowment are all expected to negatively affect the university’s finances for some time to come.”

But Stanford said the pandemic poses “an existential threat” to many smaller colleges and universities. “We believe strongly in the importance of keeping these institutions viable in order to provide access to higher education for as many students as possible, and we had concluded that this should be a priority.”


Other universities said they would accept the money.

They include: 

  • Santa Clara University, with a $1 billion endowment fund
  • The University of San Francisco, with a $345 million endowment
  • Mills College, with a $196 million endowment
  • Saint Mary's with a $181 million endowment

Stanford's decision came after Harvard initially said it would take $8.7 million in CARES Act funds, despite having a $41 billion endowment — the largest among the nation’s private universities, according to a 2019 report in U.S. News and World Report.