WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently unveiled a new online portal that will make it easier for schools to report foreign gifts and contracts valued at more than $250,000 as required by law.
This is part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to help higher education institutions come into compliance with Section 117 of the Higher Education Act after numerous reports, and the Department’s own research, uncovered billions of dollars in unreported funds from foreign sources.
“Colleges and universities owe it to all of us to be transparent about their foreign financial ties,” said Secretary DeVos. “Transparency and accountability help protect academic freedom and our country’s national security and economic future. Today, we are making it even easier for colleges and universities to follow the law and provide the transparency Americans deserve.”
Currently, the Department is not receiving sufficient information to determine compliance with Section 117’s provisions.
The new online portal requires institutions to provide more information about their foreign financial ties. For example, institutions must answer specific questions about each reportable transaction involving a foreign source, such as whether the foreign source is a foreign government, a foreign legal entity, an individual who is not a citizen or national of the United States, or a person acting as an agent of a foreign source.
Under Secretary DeVos’s leadership, the Department’s Office of the General Counsel is spearheading Section 117 foreign source compliance and verification efforts, including ongoing investigations into ten American institutions of higher education. To date, the Department has uncovered numerous university contracts with Chinese Communist Party-subsidized companies. At least one institution has multiple direct contracts with the Chinese Communist Party itself.
Since July 2019, American institutions have reported $6.5 billion in previously undisclosed foreign gifts and contracts. Institutions have anonymized the identities of the donors of at least $1.14 billion in funds from China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Russia.
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