Issue in Focus
Oct 30 2015
Coding boot camps are an example of the innovation that can occur in higher education, meeting the demand for skilled workers without relying on the endorsement or support of the federal government.
Unfortunately, a new program run by the federal government and its approved accreditors will likely jeopardize the success these boot camps have had by driving up costs and encouraging bad actors to seek federal funds.
The Department of Education’s pilot project, the Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP), would make students enrolled at coding boot camps eligible for federal financial aid, but only those boot camps that are offered through accredited colleges or universities and regulated by an independent quality assurance entity.
We need a federal higher education policy that encourages students of all backgrounds to advance themselves through additional education, but this program will likely have the opposite effect: federal accreditation, and the burdensome regulation that comes with it, poses a direct threat to innovation and disruption.
Instead of endangering this promising new model, the federal government should stand clear and enact policies that foster more innovation of the traditional higher education. Already, many coding boot camps offer alternative financing options to those who can’t afford to make an upfront payment, which opens the door to lower-income students.
And the federal government should open up the accreditation process, to remove the barriers to entry that prevent new programs from emerging to offer higher quality education at lower prices.
We can begin the process of education overhaul that our country needs by pursuing reforms like the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity (HERO) Act, which would give states a new option to create their own, alternative accreditation systems and open up new options for students qualifying for federal aid.
Our country is known for its pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit. It’s time to unleash that spirit from the grip of the our federal government's bureaucracy, so that our higher education system can once again serve the students of today who will innovate and lead tomorrow.