Owens Cracks Down on Foreign Influence At US Universities

WASHINGTON – Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04), Chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development, co-sponsored the Defending Education Transparency and Ending Rogue Regimes Engaging in Nefarious Transactions (DETERRENT) Act, legislation to bring more transparency and accountability to foreign gift reporting requirements for colleges and universities across the U.S.

“Our foreign adversaries, such as the Communist Chinese Party, are poisoning the minds of American students by funding college programs that disseminate anti-American propaganda in our nation’s colleges and universities,” said Rep. Owens. “As the chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee, one of my top priorities is to halt any and all malign influence, and we start by following the money. Our DETERRENT Act will bolster accountability, transparency, and clarity in higher education financing schemes and work to preserve our nation’s most cherished values on college campuses for generations to come.”

The legislation would specifically cut the foreign gift reporting threshold for colleges and universities from $250,000 down to $50,000, with an even stricter $0 threshold for countries of concern. Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 requires universities to disclose semiannually to the Department of Education any gifts received from and contracts with a foreign source that are valued at $250,000 or more.

The legislation would also hold the U.S.’ largest private institutions accountable for their financial partnerships by revealing any foreign investments in their endowments that could be of concern. If the legislation is passed, there will be fines implemented and other punishments if colleges and universities refuse to comply with reporting foreign gifts.

The full text of the legislation is available here

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