School opts out of PPP relief loan

Hannah Han

The school opted not to apply for a loan through the Payment Protection Program (PPP), part of the federal government’s initiative to provide economic relief for small businesses during the coronavirus crisis. The PPP is a component of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) signed into law March 27, which has been updated to include a $660 billion stimulus package intended to support smaller enterprises.

President Rick Commons said that because of the school’s ample financial resources, the administration decided against receiving federal aid. Instead, the school will continue tapping into tuition money in order to cover its operating expenses during the coming year.

“We considered [receiving a PPP loan] seriously, but in the end came to the conclusion that we have resources both in endowment and in our philanthropic parent and alumni body that enable us to handle the financial difficulties more easily than most other businesses and schools,” Commons said. “When we realized that, it felt to us that the right thing to do was to allow those funds to go to businesses and schools that need it more than we do.”

Chief Financial Officer David Weil ’93 said that the school has worked to provide relief for not only faculty and staff members but also vendors and families impacted by the outbreak.

“From the very beginning of the pandemic, Harvard-Westlake made it a priority to help affected members of the extended school family: employees, students, families, our local community and vendors,” Weil said. “The ways in which that help has manifested are numerous—for example, meals delivered to emergency room staff at local hospitals; the donation of thousands of PPE items and essential goods; IT equipment for students [and] groceries for [Harvard-Westlake] families whose incomes have been significantly impacted.”