US universities including Cornell, Harvard and MIT raked in $13B in ‘undocumented contributions’ from foreign donors: report

Over 200 US universities including elite institutions Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been accused of raking in $13 billion in “undocumented contributions from foreign governments,” according to a new report.

A sizable portion of the funds were said to be donated from authoritarian regimes around the globe including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, China and the UAE, the report from the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) claimed.

The huge windfall of cited money was not recorded with the US Department of Education between 2014 and 2019, the NCRI said.

Carnegie Mellon University received the most from foreign entities in that time span at $1.47 billion while Cornell University scooped up $1.29 billion, Harvard University notched $894 million and MIT collected $859 million, according to the report.

Qatar donors easily contributed the most to institutions, at $2.7 billion, though England was second on the list and provided $1.4 billion.

About $1.2 billion flowed from China and another $1.1 billion came from Saudi Arabia, per the report. The UAE reportedly contributed $431 million.  

Carnegie Mellon University received the most from foreign entities in that time span at $1.47 billion.
Carnegie Mellon University

The authors of the report state in in its conclusion it: “Raises the sobering possibility that international actors are using undisclosed channels to funnel large amounts of money into college campuses (including elite institutions that often have outsized influence on American culture and politics) for purposes harmful to the democratic norms of pluralism, tolerance, and freedom.”

Cornell University in a statement noted it has received funding – more than $1.3 billion since 2012 – to operate a medical school in Qatar which has graduated more than 500 students from the Middle East, Asia and other places, including the US.

“We are proud of this collaboration that is helping to train much needed doctors to support patient care, biomedical research and overall quality of life. The remaining funding received supports medical and scientific research,” said Joel Malina, the vice president for university relations.

Other schools did not immediately return requests for comment.

Cornell University in a statement noted it has received funding – more than $1.3 billion since 2012 – to operate a medical school in Qatar.
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Harvard University notched $894 million from foreign donors.
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Overall, 203 colleges were alleged to have illegally withheld information on millions of dollars they recieved from the federal government, who in 2020 tightened up teior practices and required schools to report all funding streams, according to the study.

While some of the countries are authoritarian, other countries like Canada, Japan, Germany, India and Switzerland also included on the list of foreign entities to pump money into the US college system.

The report contends there has “clearly has been an erosion of democratic norms on campuses,” and that  “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.”

MIT collected $859 million, according to the report.
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The report also notes growing incidents of antisemitism on campuses during the 2014-2019 period during the donations — which have since come to a head.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel, and the Jewish state’s retaliatory strikes on Gaza, there have been a growing number of appauling instances of antisemitism on college campuses.

Some of the disturbing incidents include Pro-Palestinian students surrounding a Jewish peer on campus at Harvard during a demonstration and a Cornell professor who said he found the attack by Hamas “exhilarating” and “energizing.”

A Cornell student was arrested recently for allegedly making antisemitic threats and numerous colleges have reported swastikas and anti-Jewish propaganda, racist emails and threats made against Jewish students prompting increased security and police patrols.

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