by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
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 ongoing investigations. But the universities under review are Georgetown, Texas A&M, Cornell, Rutgers, the University of Maryland, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.