Foreign Gift Investigations Expand and Intensify

  • With the latest investigations of Harvard and Yale Universities, it seems clear that the Department of Education is serious about enforcing Section 117 of the Higher Education Act which requires the reporting of gifts and contracts involving foreign sources valued at $250,000 or more.
  • Yale and Harvard were asked to provide an expansive list of all records going back to August 1, 2013 including true copies of contracts and donor agreements.
  • Harvard and Yale investigations follow others launched this past year including University of Maryland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Texas A&M Universities.
  • Reed D. Rubinstein, the principal deputy general counsel at the department, indicated that some disturbing facts were uncovered such as multiple contracts with the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China or a relationship with Kaspersky, a Russian company that has been banned from contracting with the U.S. Government.
  • Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education stated: “Unfortunately, the more we dig, the more we find that too many are underreporting or not reporting at all.” “We will continue to hold colleges and universities accountable and work with them to ensure their reporting is full, accurate, and transparent, as required by the law.”