Washington, DC ’  Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06) today introduced the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity (HERO) Act, the House companion to legislation introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (UT). This legislation takes an innovative approach to opening up our nation–s higher education system by allowing individual states to accredit alternative institutions, programs, or courses.

“While the costs of higher education have continued to accelerate and the amount of student loan debt has skyrocketed, many college graduates are now ending up in jobs that do not even require a college degree,”? DeSantis said.  “The acquisition of advanced knowledge and skills is more important than ever for economic opportunity, and many students would benefit from alternatives to traditional brick-and-ivy institutions, such as training programs, vocational schools and apprenticeships.  By authorizing states to experiment with different approaches to accreditation, the HERO Act will allow our nation–s students to pursue the skills and education that they need to succeed in their chosen fields.”?

“The Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act would not only make the cost of higher education more affordable, but also make it easier for students to customize their own education and gain the specific skills they need to compete in today–s economy,”? said Sen. Lee. “Today–s higher education system is falling behind on students– increasingly diverse higher education needs and the resistance to change stifles the emergence of new education models than can be much more effective and affordable. The HERO Act will open the floodgates of innovation, providing greater choice, access, and opportunity for America–s students.”?

DeSantis– HERO Act will not replace the current accreditation system, but will instead allow states to set up parallel accreditation systems if they so choose. Courses or programs that are accredited through the state programs will then be eligible to participate in Title IV funding.