Top US universities have “massively underreported” their funding from foreign nations, including China and Russia, the Department of Education found.
The report, based on the investigations of 12 universities, said $6.5 billion of previously undisclosed foreign funds were disclosed by the schools — including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Georgetown — after the scrutiny began.
The report found that most of the universities have had financial dealings with Chinese telecom company Huawei and at least one had ties directly to the Chinese Communist Party.
Others, the report said, had received money from the Russian government and institutions in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The report initially also named Cornell University for failing to declare more than $1.2 billion in foreign funds, including over $760 million from Huawei, the Wall Street Journal reported. The university’s name was later redacted without disclosing why.
The Association of American Universities, which represents research universities, said in a statement the report is “less a serious security assessment than it is a partisan and politically driven attack on America’s leading research universities.”
“While the Department of Education purports to be concerned about threats, it has consistently failed to respond to repeated requests for clarity, transparency, and guidelines,” the group said.
Investigation Began Last Year
Under a 1986 law, US universities are required to disclose gifts and contracts of $250,000 or more from foreign sources.
The investigation began last year as part of a broader push to monitor international money flowing into American colleges.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had earlier expressed concerns about whether foreign countries are influencing the US through funding its universities.
“We need to know where China and other foreign countries are influencing our country, whether overtly or insidiously,” DeVos said on Fox News’ “Mornings with Maria” in February.
The Department of Education echoed similar concerns in its report, saying that “U.S. institutions are technological treasure troves where leading and internationally competitive fields, such as nanoscience, are booming.”
“For too long, these institutions have provided an unprecedented level of access to foreign governments and their instrumentalities in an environment lacking transparency and oversight by the industry,” the report wrote in its conclusion.