The Reason BYU and the LDS Church Turned Down $333 Million in Federal Stimulus Checks

In 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic the CARES Act allocated $54.17 million to the Church Educational System to be spread throughout their four schools: BYU, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii, and Ensign College. This was just in March 2020. Second and third checks were also offered as well in the sums of $97.72 million and $168.3 million. 


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints however turned all of these checks down, totaling in $333 million. Despite going through a major loss in 2020,  the church schools repeatedly have said they would forgo the federal funding because of the church’s principles of self-reliance.


Deseret News in their article stated:


BYU’s Jenkins said last year that the Provo school believed it could assist its students without help from the CARES Act funds. The university created its own relief fund to help students who attended school from January to August 2020 with food and housing needs. Since then, BYU has provided what essentially are expanded tuition deadlines to help students struggling financially.

“BYU-Idaho has decided not to accept any part of the funds allocated to the university,” university spokesman spokesman Brett Crandall said. “At this time, the university is prepared to meet the needs of our students without accessing these federal funds. In addition to financial aid support, BYU–Idaho provides a large number of student-employment positions. We continue to look for opportunities to assist students, who are our first priority.”


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