Lee, Roy Introduce the HERO Act

July 27, 2023


WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity (HERO) Act, a bill that brings transparency, accountability, and competition to higher education. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) sponsored the HERO Act in the House of Representatives.

The HERO Act aims to simplify federal student loans by offering a single option and introduces a new financial "skin-in-the-game" requirement for universities. Under this requirement, universities will be rewarded for each Pell Grant graduate but will also be obliged to repay a percentage of the total loans issued, with consideration for loan default rates and the average national unemployment rate.


Moreover, the bill empowers states to establish alternative accreditation systems that can accredit any postsecondary institution offering programs applicable to degrees, credentials, or professional certifications. This flexibility allows states to determine clock hour and minimum program length requirements, making short-term workforce development programs and nontraditional educational providers eligible for federal student aid.


Additionally, the HERO Act mandates higher education institutions participating in federal student loan programs to publish relevant outcome information in an easily accessible format. This transparency provides students with the necessary information to make informed decisions about which institutions to attend.


Of the bill, Sen. Lee said, Too often, our bright young minds needlessly face the unfair choice of either drowning in debt or sacrificing their dreams of higher education. The HERO Act aims to alleviate the ever-increasing financial burden required of students pursuing their educational goals by capping loans that exacerbate costs. It would transform our educational landscape and allow students to tailor their unique learning journey and gain the skills needed to excel in today's dynamic economy.”


Of the bill, Rep. Chip Roy said, “Higher "education" in America has largely become a crony government-supported credentialing racket more interested in political indoctrination than pursuing truth or preparing Americans for the workforce. 


The more involved the federal bureaucracy has become with education, the worse and more expensive things have gotten.

Enough. It's time for schools to have skin in the game for how much debt they encourage young Americans to rack up. It's time to start getting the feds out of the college business, and put states and students back in charge. That is why I'm proud to work with my good friend Mike Lee in introducing this critical first step toward that goal.


Of the bill, Ryan Walker, Acting Executive Director of Heritage Action, said,While the quality of higher education in the United States has diminished, the cost of going to college has skyrocketed. Federal education subsidies incentivize colleges and universities to repeatedly increase tuition without worrying about the return on investment they provide to students. This has left millions of Americans saddled with more debt than the earning potential their degree provides. Rather than double down on failed policies, like President Biden’s reckless and unfair student loan amnesty proposals that would only make the problem worse, Congress should reform the Higher Education Act to create a new incentive structure that puts students first. Senator Mike Lee’s Higher Education Reform (HERO) Act does just that by ensuring that prospective students have the information and support they need to make informed decisions about their future. The HERO Act would also encourage innovation and reward institutions that provide the best return on investment for students. Senator Lee should be commended for putting forward a serious plan for creating a more sustainable higher education system in the United States.


Of the bill, Brent Gardner, Chief Government Affairs Officer, Americans for Prosperity, said, “For far too long, Washington bureaucrats dictated the types of education students could pursue while government policies rewarded costly education models with billions in federal subsidies that led to out-of-control college costs. The HERO Act is a necessary and important step to reduce the influence the federal government and Washington bureaucrats have on postsecondary education. This legislation empowers states and postsecondary education providers of all types to work together and spur bottom-up solutions that deliver high-value, low-cost education options.”


Of the bill, Alfredo Ortiz, President & CEO of Job Creators Network, said, "The Job Creators Network supports the 'Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act' introduced today by Senator Mike Lee. The HERO Act would make important reforms to the federal student loan program to address the root causes of skyrocketing college tuition costs. Not only would it limit the amount future students could borrow, but it also would hold America's colleges and universities accountable by requiring them to repay an annual fine based on the overall amount of outstanding federal student loans with delinquent payments. JCN also appreciates the important transparency and accreditation reforms in the Act. As the organization that challenged President Biden's illegal student loan bailout on behalf of two private plaintiffs, we have consistently argued that the real solution to the student loan crisis includes holding colleges and universities accountable and providing students with the tools they need to make thoughtful decisions about whether and how much to borrow for college. The HERO Act would go a long way in doing just that. JCN urges all Senators to support this important legislation."


For bill text, click HERE.
For a two-pager, click HERE.