by Catherine Smith
According to The Hill, the Education Department has opened an investigation into whether Harvard and Yale failed to report hundreds of billions of dollars in funding from foreign countries such as China.
The U.S. universities were described in the Education Department documents as “multi-billion dollar, multi-national enterprises using opaque foundations, foreign campuses, and other sophisticated legal structures to generate revenue,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Education department records over the last three decades show U.S universities and colleges have reported more than $6.6B in donations from Qatar, China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“This sum may be significantly underestimated,” the education department said.
“Although foreign money generally flows into the largest and richest colleges and universities, such money apparently does not reduce or otherwise offset American students’ tuition costs,” the department highlighted.
A few days ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sounded the alarm about Chinese infiltration into the U.S. education system. Pompeo said this isn’t uncommon for Chinese officials based in the U.S. to actively seek to sow seeds of chaos and gain access to sensitive information — specifically on college campuses.
“Maybe some of you have heard about the time when the Chinese consulate paid the UC San Diego students to protest the Dalai Lama,” Pompeo noted. “It shows depth. It shows systemization. It shows intent.”
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said taxpayers are owed an explanation, saying the more the agency investigates, the more they discover a total lack of transparency.
“If colleges and universities are accepting foreign money and gifts, their students, donors, and taxpayers deserve to know how much and from whom,” she said in the statement.
Both universities reportedly received letters from the Education Department on Feb. 11, in which they were asked to turn over any and all documentation pertaining to gifts and donations received from foreign donors in countries including China, Iran, Qatar, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The Education Department can send its request to the Justice Department to pursue either civil or criminal action if they refuse to cooperate and hand over documentation.
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Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met, and married an American journalist and moved to D.C from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A in Graphic, Media and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.