U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the creation of an online portal that will allow higher education institutions to more easily report foreign gifts and contracts valued at more than $250,000, according to a Monday press release from the U.S. Department of Education.
The portal will require institutions to answer specific questions about individual reportable transactions involving a “foreign source.” According to the press release, an institution will report whether the foreign source is a foreign government, a foreign legal entity, an individual who is not a citizen or national of the United States or a person acting as an agent of a foreign source.
“This is part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to help higher education institutions come into compliance with Section 117 of the Higher Education Act after numerous reports, and the Department’s own research, uncovered billions of dollars in unreported funds from foreign sources,” the press release states.
The department is not currently receiving enough information to determine whether institutions are following Section 117’s provisions.
According to the press release, the Department of Education’s enforcement efforts of Section 117 also include investigations into 10 U.S. higher education institutions. The press release adds that $6.5 billion in institutions’ previously undisclosed foreign gifts and contracts have been reported since July 2019.
“Transparency and accountability help protect academic freedom and our country’s national security and economic future,” DeVos said in the press release. “Today, we are making it even easier for colleges and universities to follow the law and provide the transparency Americans deserve.”
As of press time, the UC Office of the President had no comment on the press release.