Ed Dept’s foreign gift reporting rules conflict with federal law

(Excerpts from Inside Higher Ed News)

  • More than two dozen higher education groups are arguing that federal law does not allow the U.S. Department of Education to revoke federal financial aid for colleges that fail to adequately report their financial ties to foreign entities, as the agency recently threatened.
  • The American Council on Education wrote to the department Monday on behalf of the organizations, reiterating that officials have been unresponsive to their requests to clarify reporting requirements.
  • In ACE’s latest letter to the department, its president Ted Mitchell wrote that the groups do not believe the HEA permits federal officials to follow through with this threat. It’s also unnecessary, Mitchell wrote, because the law directs the Education Department to refer offending institutions to the U.S. Department of Justice. Although a college found in violation of Section 117’s requirements would need to reimburse the government for the cost of becoming compliant, Congress didn’t intend for the department to pull their Title IV funding, Mitchell argued.
  • The Trump administration has been stepping up its scrutiny of colleges’ relationships with other countries, particularly China, and the department has accused institutions of drastically underreporting foreign dealings.