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Dept of Education Section 117

  • 1.  Dept of Education Section 117

    Posted 10-25-2019 16:22

    We are looking at our processes and reviewing the best way to manage the requirements of the Section 117 Reporting (notes added below for quick reference)


    Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 ( requires institutions that receive Title IV student assistance to self-report foreign sourced gifts and contracts, and to disclose if a foreign entity has an ownership interest or control over the institution.  The threshold that triggers the reporting requirement is $250,00/calendar year, from a single foreign source or combined gifts/contracts from that source.  In June of 2019, the Dept. of Education opened investigations at 4 institutions claiming they underreported, and Inside Higher Ed is reporting that the letters received by 2 of these institutions seemed "to indicate an expectation that gifts routed through university foundations should be reported."  (


    The language in Sec. 117 Disclosures of Foreign Gifts addresses receipt of a gift or contract (restricted or conditional) from a foreign source.  "Contract", "foreign source", "institution" and "restricted or conditional gift or contract" are defined, although leave room for interpretation.  "Institution" as defined does not, in the strictest sense, include separate university foundations.  COGR was part of 2 letters to the Department of Education, asking for clarification of the reporting requirements.


    The Foreign Gift and Contract Report for the last 6 years (all data is self-reported) can be found here:


    Questions for the you:

    1. What is the process on your campus for collecting this information?
    2. What unit leads the collection? Financial Aid? (Dept of Education Reporting is submitted to the school participation divisions using FSA's E-App, Section K, Question 71.) 
    3. Do you include information from any affiliated entities/foundations (Development Foundation, Alumni Foundation, Research Foundation, etc.) 
    4. If a company/sponsor has a US location but global presence and is foreign owned, is that reportable?  (Ex:  Bobcat is an American-based manufacturer of farm and construction equipment, but is part of Doosan Group of South Korea and has its American headquarters in North Dakota, its European HQ in the Czech Republic)
    5. Given the Bobcat example above, from a sponsored programs perspective how deep do you go in determining sponsor type as international?
    6. How broadly do you define "contract"? 
    7. Are research contracts always included?
      1. If so, do you include amount received or contract value?  For example, if you have a $1M research contract, but it is $200K/year for 5 years, is that reportable at the $1M level once the contract is signed?


    Thank you for any insight you can provide.

    Ann Young
    Director of Grant & Contract Accounting
    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND