The Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU) has provided its members with the following information:
Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives plans to take up H.R. 5933, the Defending Education and Ending Rogue Regimes Engaging in Nefarious Transactions (DETERRENT) Act, introduced by Representative Michelle Steel (R-CA) and House Education and Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC).
Why it matters: The bill would give the U.S. Department of Education expansive new authority to govern university contacts, create extensive new reporting burdens for institutions, and raise both privacy and security concerns for faculty and research staff.
What’s next: The House Education and Workforce Committee passed the bill earlier this month with three Democrats joining with all Republicans, making engaging members of both parties critical. The final vote count on the House Floor will send a message to the Senate on whether the bill has strong and bipartisan support. A Senate companion bill S. 3362 was introduced on Wednesday by Senator Tillis (R-NC).
What’s at Stake: The bill would significantly expand U.S. Department of Education Section 117 Foreign Gift Reporting and prohibit institutions from having any contract with a country of concern (i.e., China, Russia, Iran and North Korea) unless it receives a waiver from the Secretary of Education. Provisions in the bill include:
- Lowers the Sec 117 reporting threshold to $50,000.
- Lowers the Sec. 117 reporting threshold to $0 for gifts or contracts from countries or entities of concern.
- Prohibits institutions from entering into any contracts with any foreign entities of concern or countries of concern unless they receive a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). (Sec. 117 a)
- Requires institutions receiving more than $50,000,000 in federal funds, or institutions receiving funds under Title VI of HEA to maintain a public database on their institutions’ website tracking individual foreign gifts or contracts to faculty and research staff. (Sec. 117 b)
- Requires expanded Sec. 117 reporting to include certain private university endowment investments in entities or countries of concern. (Sec. 117 c)
- Expands the fines and penalties for non-compliance with each of the new 117 sections (Sec. 177 d).