US investigates Harvard and Yale over foreign funding

  • The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) says it is opening an investigation of Yale and Harvard universities for failing to disclose hundreds of millions of dollars in gifts and contracts from foreign donors as required by law under Section 117 of the Higher Education Act.
  • The DOE said Yale failed to disclose a total of $375 million in foreign money and that it was concerned that Harvard may not have fully complied with reporting requirements.
  • The DOE’s principal deputy general counsel accused Yale in a letter of not reporting “a single foreign source gift or contract” in the period 2014 to 2017, despite the school having sites in dozens of countries.
  • In a similar letter the Education Department states it was “aware of information suggesting Harvard University lacks appropriate institutional controls.”
  • In the case of Yale, the letter from the DOE specifically requested all records from the school related to gifts or contracts from Saudi Arabia, Saudi nationals, China, Huawei Technologies and ZTE (Chinese technology companies).
  • The Department of Education previously launched investigations into six other universities (Cornell, Georgetown, Rutgers and Texas A&M Universities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Maryland).
  • The enforcement efforts have led to the reporting of $6.5 billion in previously undisclosed foreign funding, much of it from China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, since July 1.