ED Announces Plans to Expand Collection of Information on Foreign Gifts and Contracts
Published: September 13, 2019

​As Congress and federal security agencies continue to raise concerns about foreign influence at colleges and universities, campuses have had an increasing number of questions about the foreign gift and contract reporting requirements under Section 117 of the Higher Education Act (HEA).

In response to the increasing concerns of policy makers and requests from campuses seeking guidance about these reporting requirements, ACE and several higher education associations wrote the Department of Education (ED) last January requesting clarification of the Sec. 117 foreign gift reporting obligations. Since that time, ACE and ED have exchanged several letters about the need to clarify the reporting requirements, but the department has repeatedly refused to supply the needed information.

This week, ED filed an information collection request that it says will help build a “modernized collection portal” that will simplify the reporting process. However, ACE and others in the higher education community are concerned that the new portal would instead complicate the process. It would increase the scope of Section 117 beyond what the statute requires and significantly expand the type of information colleges and universities must report. Click here for details on what new information might be required.

While this is not a regulatory process, there is still an initial 60-day public comment period. ACE, along with the other major higher education associations, will be filing comments in the coming weeks.

ACE will also be working to alert lawmakers to this expansion of the scope of Section 117. Congress is expected to address the issue as part of the upcoming HEA reauthorization.