The Education Department opened investigations into Harvard and Yale as part of a review that found that U.S. universities have failed to report at least $6.5 billion in foreign funding, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to documents cited by the Journal, officials said the two schools actively solicited money from foreign governments—some of which were deemed hostile and potentially seeking out opportunities to steal research or “spread propaganda benefitting foreign governments.” Tuesday letters to both schools asked them to turn over records of contracts or gifts from various nations—including Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, and the countries’ respective telecommunications companies. The department's letter to Yale also stated that the school failed to disclose at least $375 million in foreign funding between 2014-17.
The department also said the amount of foreign money pouring into the schools “apparently does not reduce or otherwise offset American students’ tuition costs,” and said it could refer the matter to the Justice Department if they did not comply. Harvard and Yale representatives said the universities were working on their response to the department's requests.