Keeping Communist Chinese Money Out of American Universities

Americans favor transparency of all donors and sources of revenue for American universities – and oppose universities accepting money from China’s communist government.  

WHY IT MATTERS – A law passed in 1986 already requires universities to report gifts from foreign sources over $250,000, but the requirement was rarely enforced until the Trump administration.  

  • Critics argue that the dollar threshold is too high and there are too many ways that foreign governments can get around it with pass-through donations.  

THE INTRIGUE – The Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, named after President Joe Biden and where he had an office after his time as vice president in the Obama administration, is a part of the University of Pennsylvania, which has taken tens of millions of dollars from Chinese donors.  

  • The DC offices of the Biden Center are where classified documents from when Biden was vice -president were discovered.  

FULL DISCLOSURE – A Scott Rasmussen national survey asked participants whether universities should be required to disclose all donors and sources of revenue.  

  • 76 percent – Yes 
  • 15 percent – No 
  • 9 percent – Not Sure 

Those saying “yes” included:  

  • 82 percent of high propensity voters 
  • 83 percent of Whites compared to 49 percent of Blacks and 66 percent of Hispanics  
  • 82 percent of GOP, 71 percent of Democrats, and 72 percent of Independents 

SOURCES MATTER – The poll also asked whether universities should accept donations from the Chinese government.  

  • 65 percent – Yes 
  • 14 percent – No 
  • 21 percent – Not Sure 

Those saying “no” included 79 percent of GOP, 54 percent of Democrats, and 56 percent of Independents.  

No other funding source was opposed by a majority of Americans. A plurality opposed universities accepting funds from the European Union (39 percent), pharmaceutical companies (43 percent), and social media companies (48 percent).  

IN CONTEXT – The results fit into Americans’ longstanding preference for transparency and the growing bipartisan worry about the threat from Communist China as an economic and geopolitical rival to the United States.  


This Counterpolling™ survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted online by Scott Rasmussen on February 2-4, 2023. Field work for the survey was conducted by RMG Research, Inc. Certain quotas were applied, and the sample was lightly weighted by geography, gender, age, race, education, internet usage, and political party to reasonably reflect the nation’s population of Registered Voters. Other variables were reviewed to ensure that the final sample is representative of that population. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/- 3.1 percentage points.