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Why BYU, other church schools rejected tens of millions in COVID-19 relief



PROVO, Utah – Four Latter-day Saint-owned colleges and universities now have turned down a total of $333 million in federal stimulus checks during the pandemic.

A year ago, I wrote about how Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and its sister schools BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii and Ensign College, formerly known as LDS Business College, had turned down a combined $54.1 million allocated for them in the CARES Act, signed into law by then President Donald Trump in March 2020.

That figure has ballooned to more than 13 of a billion dollars through two more rounds of COVID-19 relief packages.

The U.S. Congress and two presidents have provided expanding packages of aid to the nations colleges and universities along with the individual stimulus checks provided to qualifying Americans.

But BYU has turned down stimulus checks worth $32 million, $50 million and $88 million. While some Americans now are wondering if they will receive a fourth stimulus check, the schools owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and operated through its Church Educational System steadfastly continue to decline the money.

Here’s a breakdown of what each one has been offered and turned down:

First check via the CARES Act

In March 2020, the CARES Act allocated $54.17 million to the CES schools:

  • BYU: $32,272,986
  • BYU-Idaho: $18,172,623
  • BYU-Hawaii: $2,306,881
  • Ensign College (formerly LDS Business College): $1,422,523