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Dept. of Education report alleges a lack of foreign gifts reporting from CMU, other universities

Since July of 2019, the U.S. Department of Education has been investigating undisclosed foreign gifts at elite schools. These investigations are an extension of federal government scrutiny about overseas income reporting practices in higher education. Carnegie Mellon is among the universities being investigated.

Other universities being investigated include Cornell, Yale, University of Colorado Boulder, Texas MD Anderson, MIT, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, Boston University, and Texas A&M.
It is unknown what fraction of these foreign gifts Carnegie Mellon received. The U.S. Department of Education has not revealed what any other implicated school received either.

Past gifts that were reported by the university total around 1.4 billion dollars. Carnegie Mellon has been funded by 29 different countries since 2013. Carnegie Mellon’s established top ten foreign donors, starting with top donors, include: Bermuda, Qatar, Thailand, Portugal, Japan, Rwanda, India, China, Hong Kong, and Canada.

About half of that 1.4 billion dollars was paid by the Bermuda company Marvell Technology Group Ltd. in 2016. The donation was for a legal settlement for a patent on a computer data recovery technology invented by Carnegie Mellon.

It is also known that Carnegie Mellon received about 374 million dollars in contracts from Qatar and another 27 million in a contract from Rwanda. This funding has likely been directed into running Carnegie Mellon campuses in those countries.

Carnegie Mellon has acknowledged the report that there is an alleged $3.6 billion in foreign gifts that had previously been unreported.

University spokesperson Julie Mattera told The Tartan and other media outlets: “Carnegie Mellon has always taken seriously our obligation to report contracts with and donations from foreign persons and entities, and we believe we have accurately disclosed these contracts and donations in compliance with Section 117 of the Higher Education Act. We have not changed the way we report.”