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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Rural, minority and women-owned businesses may not have received loans as intended through the federal Paycheck Protection Program due to a lack of prioritization by the Small Business Administration, the agency's inspector general said in a Friday report.

The big picture: Many businesses funded by the program — which managed to allocate $342.3 billion in loans — were already rich or had access to capital markets, Axios' Felix Salmon reported last month.

What they found: Since the SBA did not require borrowers' demographic information, it is unlikely the agency can find out how much money was given to minority or rural businesses — key markets identified by the CARES Act.

  • The SBA did not give borrowers guidance on how deferment works with PPP loans within a 30-day period as required — meaning borrowers may not know what they need to do to repay outstanding balances later on.

What they're saying: “The Inspector General’s review makes clear that the Trump administration must immediately fix the Paycheck Protection Program to help the truly small businesses that have so far not received the help they need," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who requested the watchdog report along with other Democrats, said in a statement on Friday.

  • "SBA must do more to stop the special treatment for well-connected big business at the expense of legitimate small business struggling to stay afloat and support their workers during this pandemic," Schumer said.

Axios has decided to return its PPP loan, after qualifying in April.

Go deeper: How many big companies got PPP loans

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Aug 14, 2020 - Economy & Business

How small businesses got stiffed by the coronavirus pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The story of American businesses in the coronavirus pandemic is a tale of two markets — one made up of tech firms and online retailers as winners awash in capital, and another of brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop shops that is collapsing.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has created an environment where losing industries like traditional retail and hospitality as well as a sizable portion of firms owned by women, immigrants and people of color are wiped out and may be gone for good.

Why learning pods aren't a panacea for remote learning

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Pandemic learning pods — also called microschools or co-ops — are popular options for parents looking to fill in the academic and social gaps for children who will be learning virtually come fall.

How it works: Across the country, groups of parents are pooling resources to hire a teacher, tutor or child care professional to preside over a small cohort of students, direct their studies and provide general supervision so parents can work.

Aug 15, 2020 - Health

Arizona teachers' strike over coronavirus concerns cancels class

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A school district near Phoenix, Arizona, said it will not reopen on Aug. 17 as planned because too many teachers have refused to show up over health and safety concerns.

By the numbers: More than 100 of the approximately 250 teachers who work for the district said they would be absent on Monday, a district spokesperson told AZCentral on Friday.