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. 25 Members of Congress have signed on to the HERO Act as original cosponsors.

“As the cost of higher education continues to rise, putting a burden on our economy and middle class families, students and families would benefit from alternatives to traditional brick-and-ivy institutions”? DeSantis said. "Allowing Title IV funds to flow to education programs accredited by state systems will help our nation–s students to pursue the skills and education that they need to succeed in their chosen fields. Congress should empower states with the ability to accredit programs that will better serve the education needs of students. This reform could usher in an era of innovation in higher education that will make the acquisition of advanced skills readily attainable at affordable prices.”?

"The basic problem with our higher education system isn't a lack of funding from the American taxpayer, but a lack of imagination by Washington policymakers,”? Lee said. “For far too long the arbiters of education standards and the gatekeepers of student loan funds have presumed that a bachelor's degree conferred by an elite, four-year institution is the only standard with which all higher education options must be judged. The HERO Act solves this problem by allowing states to create their own alternative systems of accrediting Title IV-eligible higher education providers, enabling our post-secondary education system to become as diverse and nimble as the job-creating industries looking to hire."

DeSantis and Lee have penned an op-ed in the National Review on the HERO Act.

The 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.