Legislation targeting foreign money on US college campuses moving through Congress

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, left, speaks at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

RALEIGH — On Nov. 8, a Congressional committee approved a bill to end the influence of foreign money at U.S. colleges and universities.

The Committee on Education and Workforce, chaired by Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC-05), announced its action on the H.R. 5933, the Defending Education Transparency and Ending Rogue Regimes Engaging in Nefarious Transactions (DETERRENT) Act.

The legislation “will stop foreign adversaries from targeting our nation’s education systems bringing much-needed transparency to foreign gifts and contracts,” per the committee’s press statement.

The press statement highlighted a Free Press article authored by Bari Weiss detailing a report by the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) that reveals “around 200 American colleges and universities received $13 billion in previously undisclosed contributions from foreign regimes which has helped fuel antisemitism on college campuses.”

“A massive influx of foreign, concealed donations to American institutions of higher learning, much of it from authoritarian regimes with notable support from Middle Eastern sources, reflects or supports heightened levels of intolerance towards Jews, open inquiry, and free expression,” NCRI’s conclusion states.

Topping NCRI’s list, two schools stand out with totals of over a billion; Carnegie Mellon University $1,473,036,665 and Cornell University $1,289,433,376. Two other institutions are approaching the $1 billion mark; Harvard University $894,533,832 Massachusetts Institute of Technology $859,071,692.

All four schools have seen antisemitic and anti-Israel protests since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7.

Five schools in North Carolina are on NCRI’s list:

  • Duke University – $343,699,498
  • North Carolina State University – $23,762,788
  • UNC Chapel Hill – $41,292,544
  • UNC Charlotte – $326,486
  • Wake Forest University – $5,026,211

Per the committee’s fact sheet on the DETERRENT Act, the threshold for foreign gift reporting for colleges and universities is cut from $250,000 to $50,000. Additionally, the amount is slashed to $0 for “countries of concern.”

Other key points in the DETERRENT Act include closing reporting loopholes and requiring disclosure of foreign gifts to individual faculty and staff members at research-heavy institutions.

The committee’s summary of the Act says the measure ‘Holds our largest private institutions accountable for their financial partnerships by revealing concerning foreign investments in their endowments,” and has a “series of repercussions” for schools who are non-compliant, which can include fines and loss of Title IV federal funding.

About A.P. Dillon 1205 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_