Could Decentralizing Academic Accreditation Save the Country?

We currently have about $1.5 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt.  That is on par with the housing financial crisis.   44.2 million Americans have student loan debt.  That’s about 21% of the adult population.  Additionally, over 11% of them are more than 90 days delinquent in their loan repayments.  Why are American falling further and further in student debt every year?  We have an absolute explosion in the supply of high quality educational resources.  You would think that if the supply went up, the prices should come down.  Are there any constraints that are keeping the supply of legitimate educational services from entering the market?

The answer is yes.  In most states, it is illegal to “offer degrees” without being accredited “by an accreditor recognized by the DOE.”

All of this means starting new schools is almost impossible.  For example, in South Dakota, the laws on this subject were written so strictly that it was effectively illegal for anyone to start a degree-granting college at all (exempting only religious education).  Accreditation takes around 5-15 years start to finish; no new institution can be “accredited.”

Why does it take so long?  Its mostly politics and money.  The power and control are centralized into the authority of the well intentioned, but wholly inadequate Department of Education (DoE).  As the explosion of educational service providers continues, the idea that all accreditations should be managed by a centralized authority may no longer be a good idea.

New technologies have brought us new capabilities, methods, and models.  Today we have open source communities that establish standards. We have online rating systems, we have algorithms and of course, blockchain.  With trust in our public institutions continuing to fall, and the student debt crisis continuing to escalate, maybe it is time to seriously consider new ways to accredit academic institutions?

Could a blockchain be used as the foundation to accredit academic institutions in an open, transparent and ethical manner that would allow more students to have access to high quality education, bringing down student debt and potentially keeping us from another economic meltdown?  I would like to encourage the members of the Government Blockchain Association University & College Community of Interest to start this dialog.  Please capture your thoughts in the Forum and when the ideas are developed, review and ready for publication, the world would love to find out what you think.

For more information about the Government Blockchain Association and the University & College Working Group please go to <a href=””></a>

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