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Dept. of Ed. Investigation Uncovers Over a Billion in Unreported Foreign University Funding

Dept. of Ed. Investigation Uncovers Over a Billion in Unreported Foreign University Funding

“DeVos said foreign funding is an administration-wide national security concern.”

Betsy DeVos suggests in the story below that this just scratches the surface.

The Washington Examiner reports:

‘Scratching the surface’: Education Department uncovers $1.3B in foreign university funding

An Education Department investigation revealed universities failed to report more than a billion dollars in foreign funding, which officials believe is only a sliver of the unreported overseas donations flowing onto campuses.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told the Washington Examiner she had launched a preliminary investigation into six universities but already turned up an alarming $1.3 billion in foreign funding over the past seven years from nations such as China, Russia, and Qatar that the schools hadn’t told the federal government about, despite their legal requirement to do so.

“It is already a reporting requirement for schools to report all foreign contributions. From my perspective, it’s a simple requirement: Report all foreign money you get.” DeVos said. “We’re going to continue to raise the flag on this, and we think, just given what we’ve seen scratching the surface, there’s a lot there that has gone undetected.”

DeVos said foreign funding is an administration-wide national security concern.

“We’re raising this issue and letting schools know that we’re going to be paying attention in ways that hasn’t happened before,” she said.

In a seven-page letter to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the Education Department said the six investigations, still in their early stages, have revealed what acting general counsel Reed Rubinstein called “disturbing facts.” Rubinstein did not name the universities associated with each finding, citing the department’s general policy not to comment on the status or results of current investigations. But the universities under review are Georgetown, Texas A&M, Cornell, Rutgers, the University of Maryland, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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The schools asked the Department of Education to define what they mean by “Foreign funding”. They won’t do it. Does this mean tuition paid by a foreign government for their students to attend the US university? If it does, then yes. There’s a lot of money involved. What’s the option? Don’t enroll foreign students?

    I don’t know about definitions, but the article cited talks entirely about “gifts” and “grants” and such. Tuition is never once demonstrated as one of the violations. (Tuition would be a quid pro quo, so not considered a gift of any sort, in a legal sense.)

    healthguyfsu in reply to whm3113. | December 12, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Tuition is hard money that is reported whether from foreign or domestic sources.

    This is about soft money hidden in slush funds. That may sound like bad words and fear-mongering, but I have heard those words usually regularly around campuses. They are in somewhat flippant fashion and often legitimate for unexpected funding needs, but the accounting is not transparent everywhere I have been.

Were any of those foreign countries Ukraine?

    beagleEar in reply to GWB. | December 11, 2019 at 10:06 pm

    Highly unlikely. That country has little money and needs to target any graft carefully. Qatar, by contrast, has vast wealth and a policy of using it to buy influence.

      We should also look at Qatar funding of “Arabic studies” in our public K-12 schools (which they have been doing for years).