This Sept. 9, 2016, file photo shows Harkness Tower on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Credit: Beth Harpaz | AP

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HARTFORD, Connecticut — Yale University will reject $6.9 million in federal aid that it was eligible for under the coronavirus relief bill that passed Congress last month after criticism from President Donald Trump and others that wealthy colleges shouldn’t get financial help.

The decision, announced Wednesday, came after Trump had singled out Harvard University and said the school should not accept the $8.6 million it was slated to receive, citing its $41 billion endowment. Yale’s endowment is similarly large, standing at $30.3 billion.

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“Though Yale is experiencing great budgetary pressure as a result of the pandemic, the university has decided not to seek these emergency funds,” Yale said in a statement. “Instead, we hope that the Department of Education will use Yale’s portion of the funding to support colleges and universities in Connecticut whose continued existence is threatened by the current crisis.”

Harvard, after Trump’s criticism, said Wednesday it would not accept the federal relief funds. Other elite universities including Stanford and Princeton have said they also won’t accept the money.

Colleges and universities across the country have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and face large losses of revenue driven in part by refunds of student housing and dining fees. They have taken steps including hiring freezes, furloughs and pay cuts. Yale announced a hiring freeze on April 7 and said it was also delaying raises.

“We do not know what our fiscal future will look like or how long it will take our economy to recover,” University of Connecticut President Thomas Katsouleas wrote in an April 10 email announcing a freeze on new hiring and spending.

The university estimated in March that it would pay out about $32 million in refunds to students. The total financial impact of the coronavirus for the spring semester for the university and UConn Health is estimated at $134 million. The university anticipates additional revenue losses in the fall semester due to decreased international enrollment.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act included $14 billion for higher education with the majority going toward public colleges and universities. According to the White House, Connecticut will receive more than $141.2 million of that money.