Washington D-C – Congress has given final approval to an overhaul of federal higher education programs. Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi was one of the lawmakers in on years of negotiations.
The bill known as the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, is the result of nearly three years of debate. It expands the number of people who can qualify for government-backed loans and federal stipends called Pell Grants.
It lets students who were home-schooled qualify for grants for the first time. It also streamlines the application process for financial aid.
Enzi is the senior Republican on the Senate Health and Education Committee.
ENZI: Completing bureaucratic financial forms should not be a barrier to thousands of students who need financial aid in order to attend college.
One of the motivators for the bill was a scandal last year when several college deans and their schools were found to have a financial interest in institutions that lent money to students.
The bill bars any financial relationships between lenders and schools or their officers. It also requires colleges and universities to enforce codes of conduct.
Enzi shepherded the bill to final passage without the Democratic chairman of his committee. Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy is absent from Congress because of a cancer diagnosis.