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BLOG: Department of Education Provides Clarity on Reporting of Foreign Gifts to U.S. Universities

February 4, 2020,

The Department of Education (DOE) has provided clarity on the reporting requirements for foreign gifts to and contracts with American universities after stepping up its scrutiny of such funding. DOE’s increased concern with foreign funding for universities has led to the arrest of a Harvard professor, who is charged with concealing payments he received from the Chinese government for research.

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.” In December, DOE issued a statement reminding universities of their obligations under the Act and announcing a new reporting system. DOE also requested a budgetary review of its new system from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and called for public comment.

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