Universities fail to report race-based scholarships from Chinese source

Threatening to have an impact. TikTok video via Twitter

The Chinese parent company of TikTok gave $10 million to universities for race-based medical scholarships, but the universities failed to report the foreign donations, in violation of federal law.

Ten universities signed gift agreements with TikTok, for scholarships for “Black, Latinx, and Indigenous” students, with the money to be distributed as scholarships to students pursuing medicine, according to a September 5 article in the National Review by Neetu Arnold of the National Association of Scholars. The University of South Dakota is the only institution that reported the funds to the Department of Education. Except for the University of South Dakota, all of the universities that got the money are minority-serving institutions.This failure to report violated “the Higher Education Act, which “requires universities to report gifts of $250,000 or more in a calendar year that are ‘owned or controlled’ by a foreign source,” National Review noted. It states that

It is not apparent from USD’s report that the originator of this gift is actually a multinational corporation based in China. I learned about this gift only through an open-records request to USD as part of a larger National Association of Scholars project on foreign funds. Clearly, more-detailed information, such as the donor name, should be required for disclosure.

Besides issues of disclosure noncompliance, TikTok’s gift fed into the racial politics of medicine and may even violate the recent Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action. USD, the only non-minority-serving institution to receive the gift, was specifically instructed to allocate “at least $500,000” of its gift to scholarships for “enrolled members of federally recognized Indian tribes or part of any other population historically underrepresented” in medical or health sciences.

The National Review article says that “USD said that they are still administering funds from this scholarship, which should prompt state lawmakers to investigate whether racial or ethnic information is used to make award decisions.”

LU Staff

LU Staff

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