March 30, 2006(Key vote)
Title: College Access and Opportunity Act of 2005
Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Vote to pass a bill that expands and reauthorizes specific student loan interest rates, loan consolidation, and a number of other provisions in the 1998 Higher Education Act that were not incorporated into last years' budget reconciliation law (S 1932).
Extends the Higher Education Act of 1965 and changes the definition of "Higher Education" to include for-profit colleges and institutions outside of the U.S. and includes them in some student aid programs with restrictions including, but not limited to, construction, general maintenance, endowments, and institutional development offices (Secs. 101, 102, 123).
Redefines who is considered a "new borrower" (Sec. 102).
Reasserts a student's right to freedom of speech and association (Sec. 103).
Calls for greater transparency of college costs, financial aid programs, and general statistical data available to aid potential students when comparing institutions of higher education (Sec. 131).
Prohibits the creation of a shared national database that tracks students' personal information such as who receives financial aid (Sec. 132).
Creates financial incentives, grants, and programs for enhancing the quality and preparedness of teachers entering higher education institutions (Sec. 201).
Calls for an increase in the maximum Pell Grant to $6,000 and also extends the Pell Grant to a year-round program (Sec. 401).
Reinstates GEAR UP program and TRIO program and also expands the amount of aid given to minority institutions (Secs. 402, 404, 504).
Calls for an increase in programs that will assist students in Mathematics, Science, and Engineering (Sec. 419).
Provides guidelines for establishing a more simplified Student Aid Application Process (Sec. 471).
Requires complete disclosure of academic credit policies, including any policies that would deny transfer of credit hours from one accredited institution to another (Sec. 495).