Fortunes from Foreigners

Federal Law requires institutions of higher education to report foreign gifts in the amount of $250,000 or higher to the Department of Education.  (See U.S. Code Title 20, Section 1011F.)  The NAS believes that timely, thorough, and accurate reporting of foreign gifts facilitates transparency in higher education.  Complying with the law by publicly reporting large foreign gifts helps allay undue concerns about foreign influence over American higher education.  Reporting foreign gifts also alerts the public to those few cases that do raise legitimate concerns about the role of foreign donors in American higher education.  In short, public information on foreign gifts facilitates an important debate about the place of American higher education in the world.

The recent release of the Department of Education’s records on foreign gifts to American institutions of higher education has given rise to concerns that some colleges and universities may not be reporting large foreign gifts in a timely or thorough fashion.  In view of these concerns, the NAS has agreed to act as a clearing house for reports that we believe raise legitimate concerns about the foreign gift reporting practices of particular institutions.  The purpose of posting such concerns on this site is to encourage timely and accurate reporting of large foreign gifts.  The NAS does not endorse, or claim to have reached any final conclusions, about the specific reports posted here.  Our purpose is simply to help those who we feel are raising legitimate questions about gift reporting practices find a public forum.  

While we do not endorse the reports we post as part of this project, we will sift submissions and decline to post any that are, on their face, simply rumors or ungrounded accusations. The NAS reserves the right to exercise its own judgment about which reports to post.  We are looking for reputable reports based on significant evidence.

The NAS encourages colleges and universities to issue public statements about the accuracy and thoroughness of their foreign gift reporting practices.  We are eager to post such statements at this site, particularly such statements as are issued in reply to any concerns about gift reporting practices posted here.

  • If you know of news reports, stories in college newspapers, or reputable reports by bloggers raising legitimate questions about a given institution’s foreign gift reporting practices, we invite you to e-mail them to [email protected].   
  • If you know of news stories, or have information about large foreign gifts to a particular institution that are not included in the recently released federal data, you are also invited to send that information to our email.
  • Again, the NAS seeks to provide a forum in which legitimate concerns about foreign gift reporting in higher education can be expressed.  We are also eager to provide a forum in which colleges and universities can publicly respond to and allay public concerns.  As an organization, the NAS does not specifically endorse or draw any final conclusions about the reports from the public, or the statements from institutions of higher education, posted on this site. 
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