A new report released by the Department of Education shows multiple U.S. universities accepted funding from China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other “foreign adversaries,” but did not report all they received.
The findings, reported by the Associated Press, are part of an ongoing investigation by the department spurred by the Trump Administration to crack down on foreign theft of intellectual property, research, and technology in higher education. “Potential enforcement against specific institutions” will come from the Department of Justice.
While the U.S. requires universities to “disclose gifts and contracts of $250,000 or more from foreign sources,” the report suggests that 12 schools of “the nation’s largest and richest universities have aggressively pursued and accepted foreign money,” including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Georgetown.
Together, the universities reportedly failed to “disclose a combined $6.5 billion in foreign funding that was previously unreported.”
According to the report, many of the universities maintained financial relationships with previously identified national security threats such as Chinese tech company Huawei and another which “had ties directly to the Chinese Communist Party.”
The department also denounced “rapidly expanding their foreign operations and relationships,” by some institutions including the Ivy League university Yale, which admitted failed “to submit foreign funding reports for the years 2014 to 2017.”
While the Association of American Universities claimed the investigation “is a partisan and politically driven attack on America’s leading research universities,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said that the report demonstrates “pervasive noncompliance” from higher education institutions that have “significant foreign entanglement.”
“For decades enforcement was lax, but not anymore,” she said. “We took action to make sure the public is afforded the transparency the law requires.”
The report follows a bipartisan congressional report which found “70% of schools that house a Confucius Institute — a Chinese language program funded by the Chinese government — failed to disclose its financial ties to the Education Department.”
According to the AP, many of the universities “oppose new rules the department released this year requiring colleges to disclose greater detail about their ties to foreign companies and governments” and “worry that the new rules will deter foreign donors who want to remain anonymous.”
The agency, however, said that it is well within the capability of the universities to manage their foreign donations.
“Institutions manage to track every cent owed and paid by their students; there is no doubt they can – and indeed do – track funds coming from foreign sources, including those adversarial to American interests,” the DOE report said.