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Foxx Leads Letter Calling on Secretary Cardona for Transparency in Foreign Funding of Universities

WASHINGTON – Today, the Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) led a letter sent to Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona seeking information on whether colleges and universities are complying with reporting requirements under Section 117 of the Higher Education Act, which requires schools to report foreign gifts and contracts. The previous administration found nearly $6.5 billion in unreported foreign money received by colleges. Yet, since taking office, it appears the Biden administration has done very little, if anything, to pursue enforcement of Section 117 or to open new investigations. 

The letter cites the following from the prior administration’s report: “[T]he filings received . . . by the Department indicate the largest, wealthiest, and most sophisticated . . . institutions of higher education have received nearly all foreign funds, receiving billions . . . in assets using an assortment of related intermediaries, including functionally captive foundations, [and] foreign operating units.”  

The letter continues: “[G]iven the lack of detail in the administration’s recent budget proposals, including the FY 2024 proposal, we write to inquire about current Section 117 operations and enforcement activities of the Department.”

The letter concludes by asking a series of questions including: 

  • What are the budgeted and expended amounts for all Section 117 activities? 
  • How many employees are performing Section 117 enforcement activities and how many are monitoring colleges’ compliance with Section 117?
  • What are the names of the schools with Section 117 investigations that have been closed and the rationale for the closure?
  • Is the current Section 117 reporting portal fully functional and if not, why? 

The letter is signed by: House Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, Joe Wilson, Glenn “GT” Thompson, Tim Walberg, Glenn Grothman, Rick Allen, Jim Banks, Lloyd Smucker, Burgess Owens, Bob Good, Lisa McClain, Mary Miller, Michelle Steel, Ron Estes, Julia Letlow, Kevin Kiley, Aaron Bean, Eric Burlison, John James, Brandon Williams, and Erin Houchin.
To read the full letter, click here


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