House Committee Approves Foreign Influence Bill
November 13, 2023

​The House Committee on Education and the Workforce last week voted to approve the DETERRENT Act, a bill to amend Section 117 of the Higher Education Act (HEA) and create massive new reporting requirements regarding foreign funding to colleges and universities.

Three Democrats joined committee Republicans in voting for the bill, demonstrating the continuing bipartisan concerns about foreign partnerships, particularly with China. The committee also raised issues with funding to institutions from Qatar and ties between that government and support for Hamas in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

The bill would lower the reporting threshold currently in Section 117 from $250,000 to $50,000 for most foreign gifts and contracts and down to $0 for gifts or contracts from countries of concern (currently defined as China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia). Public institutions would be prohibited from signing contracts with countries of concern unless the secretary of education issues a waiver, and private institutions with endowments over $6 billion would have to report investments or holdings with countries of concern.

The bill also would create large new fines for non-compliance, some of which would be tied to Title IV funding. A summary of the measure and all amendments approved can be found here.

Before the markup, ACE sent a letter on behalf of 16 other associations outlining our concerns and asking that certain sections be struck before the legislation moved forward. However, the final measure neglected to take into account any of the major concerns the groups identified.

It is unclear whether the bill will be brought to the floor as a standalone measure or if it eventually will be packaged with other legislation to reauthorize the HEA, the goal of Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC).


read the summary