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BLOG: Department of Education Investigates Foreign Gifts to U.S. Universities

October 22, 2019,

The Department of Education (DOE) appears to be stepping up scrutiny of American universities’ disclosures of foreign gifts and contracts. Several universities have received letters from the Department requesting information related to foreign gifts and contracts.

Section 117 of the Higher Education Act requires that institutions report to the federal government any gift or contract with a foreign source valued at $250,000 or more “considered alone or in combination with all other gifts from or contracts with that foreign source within a calendar year.” On September 26, the DOE sent a letter to the University of Maryland (UMD) expressing concern that the university’s disclosures “may not fully capture all gifts, contracts, and/or restricted and conditional gifts or contracts or with all foreign sources to the University of Maryland and/or its affiliated entities operating substantially under the auspices of your institution for its benefit.” The letter requested records of foreign gifts and contracts connected with China, Qatar, and Russia.

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