“For any company that’s receiving money – and these academic institutions are no different – they have to look at what’s their access to capital. And if you have access to a lot of other capital, audiences are going to be less sympathetic.”
Since the program aired, the President and Treasury Secretary have criticized private schools for taking the stimulus checks even though they are eligible.
For private schools eligible for PPP relief, from a communications perspective, we recommend asking the following questions at the board level:
- Did we easily fall within the PPP guidelines or did we have to manipulate the rules to fit?
- What is the size of our endowment? The smaller the endowment, the easier it is to justify acceptance of funds.
- How will the money be used? If it is being used exclusively to pay teachers, staff, coaches and maintenance staff it is more easily defensible.
- Do we have access to other funds?
- What has been our historic commitment to scholarships, diversity and economically disadvantaged students? What would the absence of PPP money mean for the future of these programs?
- If there is a “B” and “C” wave to this pandemic or a another pandemic in the near future, will we be able to weather the storm?
- How do we support our community and the small businesses within it?
Private schools that come across more sympathetically in this equation can more easily deflect criticism than those who appear to be profiting from this stimulus plan.