At issue are federal student loans, which can only be used to pay for education at federally accredited institutions. Lee argued that this policy makes the federal government a gatekeeper to higher education — and rather than keeping out bad actors, he said, it just protects institutions from competition. And as the government has closed and then subsidized this market, its product (the ubiquitous Bachelor’s degree) has become more expensive and less valuable.
So Lee’s proposed fix would let states set up their own accreditation regimes that would run parallel to the federal government’s.
“College presidents can rest assured that if they like their regional accreditor, they can keep their regional accreditor,” he said. “And I mean it, I’m absolutely sincere.”
Lee said the legislation could let states open accreditation for apprenticeships, professional certifications, and competency tests, among other alternative higher-ed modes. Apple and Google, for instance, could work to make accredited computer courses.