The Education Department has launched a probe into Harvard and Yale, after it claims to have discovered that U.S. universities have failed to report billions of dollars in funding from foreign countries such as China.
The U.S. universities were described by in Education Department documents as “multi-billion dollar, multi-national enterprises using opaque foundations, foreign campuses, and other sophisticated legal structures to generate revenue," The Wall Street Journal reports.
Officials within the department suspect the pair of Ivy League schools of soliciting money from the foreign companies and governments that are openly at odds with the U.S. government.
Education Department documents obtained by the Journal state that the money that is received by the universities "apparently does not reduce or otherwise offset American students’ tuition costs."
U.S. officials have said that China has used a variety of methods to go after American academic institutions. Last month, Harvard's Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department chairman was arrested and charged with lying in federal court about receiving millions in funding for the department while the U.S. also gave millions of dollars in funding.
Both universities reportedly received letters from the Education Department on Feb. 11, in which they were asked to turn over any and all documentation pertaining to gifts and donations received from foreign donors in countries including China, Iran, Qatar, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
If the institutions refuse to hand over the documents, the Education Department can send its request to the Justice Department to pursue either civil or criminal action.
Harvard confirmed in an email to The Hill that the university has received the notice from the government department.
The Hill has reached out Yale for comment.