The federal letter to U-Md. President Wallace D. Loh, dated Sept. 26, said U.S. officials are “concerned” that what the university has reported “may not fully capture” all the gifts and contracts that bring revenue from foreign sources to the public flagship school and affiliated institutions in College Park.
The letter requested that U-Md. provide records on foreign gifts and contracts from recent years, highlighting gifts or contracts connected to China, Qatar, Russia and certain business and education entities from those countries.
The letter resembles others the department sent over the summer to Texas A&M, Cornell, Rutgers and Georgetown universities, a sign the Trump administration is stepping up scrutiny of foreign ties to prominent schools.
The Education Department did not immediately reply Wednesday to a request for comment about the letter to U-Md.
The university’s senior vice president and provost, Mary Ann Rankin, notified senior U-Md. officials Tuesday about the federal inquiry.
U-Md. spokeswoman Katie Lawson said the university is seeking to answer federal questions.
“Once the university learned that we were not reporting this information, we worked quickly to come into compliance,” Lawson said. “We join other universities in addressing this issue. We have been in compliance since January 2019, which was the next reporting deadline after we discovered we were not in compliance. We plan to work with federal officials in a transparent and timely manner to fully resolve these issues.”
Lawson said no further information about foreign revenue to U-Md. was immediately available.
The American Council on Education, which represents college and university presidents, said some schools have voiced confusion about the federal queries. “There just hasn’t been clarity on what should be reported and how it should be reported,” said Sarah Spreitzer, the council’s director of government and public affairs.
Georgetown said Wednesday that it worked with the department after receiving the inquiry.
“Georgetown University is a globally oriented institution that has many internationally focused academic programs and engagements,” the university said in a statement. “Georgetown takes seriously its reporting obligations and regularly provides all information as required by the Department of Education.”
A federal website shows that Georgetown received $415 million from foreign sources from 2012 through 2018, most of it connected to its campus in Qatar and related activities in the country.
The website did not show any foreign funding for U-Md.