Investigation: Six Prominent U.S. Universities Failed To Report A Combined Total Of 1.3 Billion In Foreign Funding

Education has long been considered an important part of the U.S. foreign assistance strategy.
There is general agreement that education is crucial to bettering livelihoods and improving
economic stability in developing countries. According to the World Bank, an increase of one
standard deviation in student reading and math scores is associated with an increase of two
percentage points in annual gross domestic product (GDP) per capita growth.

Access to and quality of education continues to pose a challenge to foreign aid donors.
Approximately 263 million children and youth worldwide do not attend school. For those who
attend school, the quality of education is lacking—one estimate suggests that 25% of children
who complete four years of primary school have not learned basic literacy and numeracy skills.

This all sounds good, but what about our own education system?

A recent report from the Clarion Project shows a huge amount of foreign funding that comes from countries like China, Qatar, and Russia.

Six prominent U.S. universities failed to report a combined total of 1.3 billion in foreign funding, according to the Department of Education (DOE).

The universities named by the Department of Education were Georgetown, Texas A&M, Cornell, Rutgers, the University of Maryland and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

A recent letter sent to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (part of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee) by the Department of Education’s deputy general counsel, Reed Rubinstein, described preliminary results of an investigation into the six universities.

The letter notes that for years these universities failed to report $1.3 billion in foreign funding “despite their clear legal duty to do so.”

Under Section 117 of the Higher Education Act, U.S. universities are required to disclose “contracts with or gifts from the same foreign source that, alone or combined, have a value of $250,000 or more for a calendar year; and/or if the institution is owned or controlled by a foreign source.”

The letter describes foreign donations to U.S. schools as “a black hole” because U.S. colleges and universities “routinely” fail to report foreign money (in fact, nearly 70% of colleges and universities fail to report foreign funding).

The letter also notes that “Qatari ‘donations’ to American colleges and universities are made strategically to advance Qatari interests.”

For years, the government of Qatar has engaged in an extensive influence operation on American campuses.

For example, Qatar gave over $340 million to Northwestern University to promote a partnership between Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and Al Jazeera and to help train future “journalists.”

Al-Jazeera, the most influential Islamist extremist propaganda outlet in the world, is essentially an arm of the Qatari government.

Al Jazeera has a long history of spreading anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism and support for terrorist groups. This includes glorifying Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders.

A recent Clarion Project report exposed that U.S. universities have received $10 billion in foreign funding since 2012. A massive amount of that funding comes from foreign governments (and government-tied entities) that run influence operations in the U.S. to try to mold public opinion and policy.Qatar is the most sizable donor to U.S. universities. According to the reported DOE data, the Qatari regime has given close to $1.5 billion to 28 universities throughout the U.S. in the form of monetary gifts and contracts since 2012.

The Clarion Project also exposed how disclosure of foreign funding can be avoided with simple evasive measures. We showed how the Iranian regime used a well-known front to send donations to about 30 universities in the U.S. and Canada.

These donations, for example, do not show up in the Education Department records of foreign funding.

In a recent interview with The Washington Examiner, DOE Secretary Betsy DeVos noted that this is just the beginning of the DOE’s investigations.

“We’re going to continue to raise the flag on this, and we think, just given what we’ve seen scratching the surface, there’s a lot there that has gone undetected,” DeVos said.

The investigations began in June with probes into foreign funding at Georgetown and Texas A&M.

The investigations are the latest example of how colleges and universities have found themselves in the cross fire of the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration and American foreign policy. International enrollment has declined, visa delays have increased, and foreign students and staff members have been denied entry.

America, it’s time, to be honest with ourselves and admit that we have an education problem — if not a full-blown crisis — on our hands, the likes of which is preventing us from reaching our full potential both individually and collectively.

We should accept donations from donors and countries that are approved by the U.S.

Natalie Dagenhardt

Natalie Dagenhardt is an American conservative writer who writes for  Right Journalism! Natalie has described herself as a polemicist who likes to "stir up the pot," and does not "pretend to be impartial or balanced, as broadcasters do," drawing criticism from the left, and sometimes from the right. As a passionate journalist, she works relentlessly to uncover the corruption happening in Washington. She is a "constitutional conservative".