GOP Questions ED’s Oversight of Foreign Gift Reporting Compliance

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Senior Staff Reporter

House Republicans on Wednesday sent a letter to the Department of Education (ED) seeking budgeting details into the department’s operations and enforcement activities concerning foreign gift reporting.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, spearheaded the letter to ED and specifically requested the department to provide committee members with all of the administration’s funding levels that have been used to monitor college and university foreign gift reporting disclosures since President Joe Biden took office, as well as the administration's proposal for the upcoming fiscal year 2024 budget.

Foreign gift reporting was adopted into the Higher Education Act (HEA) 33 years ago under Section 117, and requires that institutions participating in Title IV programs submit disclosure reports to ED with information about foreign gifts and contracts valued at $250,000 or more, “considered alone or in combination with all other gifts from or contracts with that foreign source within a calendar year.”

The issue of foreign gift reporting disclosures was ramped up during Betsy DeVos’ tenure as secretary of education, with ED’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) issuing a report that found roughly $6.5 billion in previously unreported foreign gifts or contracts, leading the previous administration to create an online reporting portal.

In their letter to ED, House Republicans also requested the department provide an update on the status of the portal’s functionality and a detailed explanation should the portal not be fully functional.

The Biden administration recently issued a proposed Information Collection Request (ICR) concerning ED’s data collection efforts, and is currently reviewing comments provided by stakeholders.

NASFAA in February signed on to a letter urging ED to carry out a formal negotiated rulemaking process for those ongoing foreign gifts and contracts disclosure regulations.

The signatories of the letter argued that ED’s information collection request does not increase clarity or reduce the administrative burden for institutions, and cited concerns related to the department’s reporting portal, confusion over guidance for reporting tuition paid by foreign sources, as well as a gross underestimation of the administrative and cost burden associated with the newly proposed guidance.

Stay tuned to Today’s News for more information on foreign gift reporting regulations. 


Publication Date: 4/7/2023

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