Nearly 55,000 Iowa small businesses and nonprofit groups have been approved to receive aid through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program put in place to help organizations reeling from the economic blow caused by the pandemic, information from the federal agency shows.

Through May 30, 54,928 Iowa small businesses and nonprofits have been approved to receive more than $5 billion from the program, which was rolled out in early April. The average size of a loan Iowa recipients received was $91,195, information from the SBA shows.

Iowa in 2018 had 267,733 small businesses, according to the SBA.

The program has been surrounded with controversy since it began. Businesses struggled to obtain loans during the first weeks of the program. Some relatively large, publicly traded companies received loans as millions of smaller businesses were put on waiting lists. Rules on how money from the program could be used were criticized as too restrictive, prompting Congress earlier this month to loosen guidelines.

Last week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress that names of loan recipients and the size of loan they received would not be released because the information was “proprietary.”

The Paycheck Protection Program was part of the multitrillion-dollar federal coronavirus rescue program intended to help small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic-related economic shutdown and to preserve jobs. Mnuchin, in testimony before the Senate’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said the program has preserved more than 50 million jobs nationally.

More than $510.2 billion in loans, which are forgivable if borrowers meet certain criteria, has been provided through the program to 4.47 million U.S. small businesses and nonprofit groups, according to the SBA.

The average size of loans nationally is $114,003, according to the SBA. Nearly 65% of loans, or 2.89 million, were for $50,000 or less.

Businesses in three industries – health care and social assistance, construction, and professional, scientific and technical services – have received the largest payouts from the program, with each area receiving more than $63 billion, SBA information shows.

The SBA, with its other loan programs, has routinely released more detailed information about borrowers.

However, last week Mnuchin said information on the names of organizations and amounts they received from the Paycheck Protection Program is “confidential information.”

“We believe that that’s proprietary information,” he said.

At least 11 news organizations have sued the SBA in federal court, asking a judge to order the release of the Paycheck Protection Program loan records, USA Today reported.