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Steel, Foxx Bill Will Deter Foreign Adversaries’ Influence in Postsecondary Education

WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Michelle Steel (R-CA) and Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) introduced the Defending Education Transparency and Ending Rogue Regimes Engaging in Nefarious Transactions (DETERRENT) Act, legislation that brings much-needed transparency, accountability, and clarity to foreign gift reporting requirements for colleges and universities across the nation. This is the first in a series of bills to reform the Higher Education Act
The legislation follows Committee oversight efforts uncovering the Department of Education’s failure to open a single investigation under Section 117 of the Higher Education Act—the single biggest enforcement tool to protect against the threats posed by foreign adversaries. Section 117’s loose legislative language, Biden’s blatant crippling of enforcement efforts, and institutions’ refusal to adhere to the law have resulted in billions of dollars in foreign funds infiltrating our country undetected.
“Postsecondary education in America has been compromised. Malignant foreign entities, like the Chinese Communist Party, have taken root at colleges and universities by simply flashing their checkbooks and opening the floodgates to an endless stream of cash – every dollar comes with strings attached,” said the lawmakers“The DETERRENT Act is our prescription to unleash accountability, transparency, and much-needed clarity into a system that has allowed foreign actors to entice well-meaning institutions and boldly partner with other shameless institutions to work against the interests of the American people. By erecting this bulwark, we are bringing bad actors directly into blinding sunlight while holding colleges and universities accountable. Covert attempts to influence postsecondary education in America will no longer be obscured by the shadows.”
  • Slashes the foreign gift reporting threshold for colleges and universities from $250,000 down to $50,000, with an even stricter $0 threshold for countries of concern.
  • Closes reporting loopholes and provides transparency to Congress, intelligence agencies, and the public. 
  • Requires disclosure of foreign gifts to individual staff and faculty at research-heavy institutions to protect those targeted the most by our adversaries.
  • Holds our largest private institutions accountable for their financial partnerships by revealing concerning foreign investments in their endowments.
  • Implements a series of repercussions for colleges and universities that remain noncompliant in foreign gift reporting such as fines and the loss of Title IV funding. 
Click here for a fact sheet.
Click here for a bill text.
Click here for a bill summary.

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