House Legislation Forces Higher Education To Report Foreign Gifts

Amid concerns that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), among other of America’s adversaries, is infiltrating the educational system, Reps. Michelle Steele (R-CA) and Virginia Foxx (R-CA) recently introduced legislation forcing educational institutions to report foreign gifts.

In October 2023, Steele and Foxx introduced the “Defending Education Transparency and Ending Rogue Regimes Engaging in Nefarious Transactions Act” (DETTERENT), which modifies the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965.

Specifically, the DETERRENT Act focuses on Section 117 of the HEA, requiring colleges and universities to report any gifts they receive from foreign governments exceeding $250,000 in value.

Section 117’s purpose is to allow U.S. citizens to know whether foreign countries are paying off American schools, thereby influencing them, as reported by American Greatness.

Shortly after introducing the legislation, Steele released a statement where she cited that Qatar, a Hamas-supporting country, has provided American universities with over $1 billion from 2011-2016.

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch. When our terror-friendly adversaries pour money into our colleges and universities, it’s safe to say they want something in return,” the California congresswoman said.

“As reports have found, these adversaries seek increased access, political influence, and even the suppression of certain topics. This is happening all over the country. For example, Qatar – one of the most vocal pro-Hamas, anti-Semitic countries in the world – has given over $1 billion to U.S. universities from 2011 to 2016,” she added.

Qatar is just one of the many examples of foreign countries that have bought influence in American schools. In 2020, under the Trump administration, the Department of Education (DOE) revealed that U.S. schools had raked in over $6.5 billion from foreign sources, according to American Greatness.

Such schools had failed to disclose the hefty sums of money they received, as is required under Section 117.

If the DETTERENT Act becomes law, it would impose stricter penalties for educational institutions that fail to disclose the amount of money they receive from foreign sources.
To date, schools in violation of Section 117 are forced to pay the federal government’s cost of enforcement, but if the DETTERENT Act is enacted, they would be forced to play a minimum of $50,000.