Mnuchin says deep-pocketed private schools should return Paycheck Protection Program loans

“It has come to our attention that some private schools with significant endowments have taken #PPP loans. They should return them,” Mnuchin wrote on Twitter Friday.
Some private schools like St. Andrew’s Episcopal in Maryland, where Barron Trump is a student, plan to accept funds from the PPP, despite having an endowment of more than $8 million, according to a 2017 tax filing.

The school told CNN in a statement Thursday that it applied for the funds to “ensure retention of our full faculty and staff, including hourly employees and coaches, during this very challenging and uncertain time.” CNN has reached out to St. Andrew’s for comment on Mnuchin’s tweet.

The New York Times reported another elite school in Washington, DC, Sidwell Friends, which counts among its alumni Chelsea Clinton and Malia and Sasha Obama, also plans to keep its loan. The Times reported that while Sidwell Friends has an endowment of more than $53 million, Sidwell’s board of trustees said it plans to accept a $5.2 million loan.

A spokeswoman for the National Association of Independent Schools told CNN’s Brian Todd that some institutions’ endowments don’t “necessarily translate to liquidity.”

“Some of these endowments are restricted funds that can’t just be accessed like you might access a savings account,” Myra McGovern told CNN, adding, “The pandemic has really resulted in a lot of schools losing income as they’ve had to change their programs.”

Several other notable private schools — including the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School in Washington, DC, and The Westminster Schools in Atlanta — told CNN they didn’t apply for the loan.

The Latin School in Chicago received a loan but then returned it after backlash in the community.

CNN’s Devan Cole, Meridith Edwards and Annie Grayer contributed to this report.

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