Harkness Tower on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., in a photo taken in 2016.
The Education Department has hit back at university groups that have criticized its recent enforcement drive.
The department also said Yale failed to disclose at least $375 million in foreign funding and requested records for contributions from China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said taxpayers are owed an explanation about where schools are getting these monetary gifts from, adding that the more the agency investigates, the more they discover a total lack of transparency.
Section 117 of the Higher Education Act requires American Title IV-eligible colleges and universities to report gifts from, and contracts with, any foreign source that exceed $250,000 in value and to disclose any foreign ownership or control, twice each year.More news: Red Bull reveal their 2020 auto with revolutionary new nose
The investigations into the Ivy League schools are the latest in a clash between US universities and a coalition of federal officials including law enforcement, research funders such as the National Institutes of Health, and a bipartisan group in Congress that has raised concerns about higher-education institutions' reliance on foreign money, particularly from China.
The Wall Street Journal first disclosed the Harvard and Yale investigations. She said the university believes its reporting is current and complete.
Harvard told the Bloomberg news agency that it was also reviewing the department's request and preparing a response. It said $3.6 billion of that was reported by 10 schools: Cornell University, Yale, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, Boston University, Texas A&M, and Carnegie Mellon University.
The WSJ reported a February 11 letter to Harvard published by the DOE website, which cited the Lieber case and demanded that Harvard disclose its records of donations from and contracts with China, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as Chinese telecommunications giants Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp.; Russia's Kaspersky Lab and Skolkovo Foundation, and the Alavi Foundation of Iran, among others. The arrest last month of the chairman of Harvard's chemistry department on federal charges of lying about receiving millions of dollars in Chinese funding through the program while the US shelled out more than $15 million to fund his research group catapulted the issue into the spotlight.
In an affidavit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Lieber, who led a group focused on nanoscience, had established a research lab in China's central city of Wuhan, apparently without the university's knowledge. The Education Department noted the arrest in its announcement Wednesday and said it is concerned Harvard "may lack appropriate institutional controls over foreign money" and may have failed to report fully all foreign gifts and contracts.More news: Justin & Hailey Bieber Share Private Wedding Details in 'Seasons'
A letter from DOE general counsel Rubinstein to Sen. It said in a letter to Yale that the university appeared not to have reported a single foreign source gift or contract in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 despite having a significant presence overseas.
But blame for this "black hole" should not fall exclusively on institutions of higher learning, argues the American Council on Education (ACE), which represents hundreds of colleges and universities.
Education Department officials in June 2019 launched a series of investigations into universities' foreign funding.
"Compliance requires a clear, unambiguous understanding of obligations", Hartle wrote.More news: Deadly Bomb Blast Hits Military Academy in Afghan Capital