Co-Sponsorship of the HERO Act (House)

The Higher Education Reform and Opportunity (HERO) Act (S. 1904 / H.R. 4612) , introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) 100% and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) 91%, would empower states to develop their own accreditation systems to accredit colleges, individual courses within colleges, apprenticeship programs, and curricula.  An effort to deal with the problem of rising college costs is imperative because college tuition has risen significantly over the years.  Heritage notes, “Since 1982, the cost of attending college has increased 439 percent, more than four times the rate of inflation.”

The current system of accreditation, overseen in large part by the U.S. Department of Education, “narrows the number of available options for students by requiring students to attend an accredited institution in order to be eligible for a student loan” and prevents individual courses from being accredited.  

The current “one-size-fits-all” approach to college accreditation has become a “poor gauge of college quality.”  The Heritage Foundation explains:

Colleges rarely lose accreditation once it is granted, despite widespread recognition that the quality of higher education has been on the decline for decades. At the same time, colleges slog through the bureaucratic and time-consuming accreditation process in order to access federal subsidies, which constitute an increasingly large share of college budgets.

The Lee-Desantis bill decouples federal student aid from accreditation, enabling states the ability to accredit courses and educational options and thereby increasing competition in higher education.  

Heritage also notes:

Credentialing courses and acquired skills, not institutions, will be a far better reflection of the competencies valued by employers, will help bring down college costs, create a more flexible higher-ed experience for students, and bring down the barriers to entry for innovative start-ups.

Heritage Action supports the HERO Act (S. 1904 / H.R. 4612) and will include CO-SPONSORSHIP of the legislation on our legislative scorecard.  

Related:

Accreditation: Removing the Barrier to Higher Education Reform
Lee’s College Accreditation Legislation Could Drive Down College Costs