ACE, Higher Ed Groups Ask Again for Clarification on Foreign Gift and Contract Reporting
March 06, 2023

​Along with a number of other higher education associations, ACE sent comments to the Department of Education (ED) Feb. 27 in response to the December Federal Register notice requesting feedback on recent changes to how colleges and universities report foreign gifts and contracts.

The higher education community has been pressing the department to clarify and streamline Higher Education Act Section 117 requirements for several years now. While this latest effort has some helpful provisions, it still does not rein in ED's overreach as much as the groups believe it should.

ED has said that the primary responsibility for administering Section 117 will move from the Office of the General Counsel to Federal Student Aid (as it was before the Trump administration), although information will still be collected through the existing portal. The groups support that move but believe that the department continues to overstep its statutory authority in a number of other areas, including the expanded definition of “intermediaries" and the requirement to submit names and addresses for anonymous foreign gifts.

First enacted in 1986, the department has never issued formal regulations implementing Section 117. The letter once again requests ED to begin the rulemaking process to “ultimately provide a regulatory framework to help ensure that institutions of higher education understand and can comply with their statutory obligations."​