Monday, October 22, 2007

How Thompson's Past Affects His Views on Higher Education

As a young father, Fred Thompson worked his way through college, relying heavily on student loans. He has said the experience left him with the lasting belief that the federal government has a role to play in helping students afford college.

But aside from a few anecdotes like that, Mr. Thompson has been largely mum about his positions on higher education since he jumped into the presidential race in September. In the third in The Chronicle's series of profiles of the leading candidates, we sift through Mr. Thompson’s past, including his Senate career, to determine what a Thompson presidency might mean for colleges and universities.

On another front at our Campaign U. blog last week, we wrote about Hillary Rodham Clinton's flip flop on the federal guaranteed-loan program. First, she said she supported competition between the federal government’s direct-lending program and the Federal Family Education Loan Program, also known as FFELP.

But when Senator Clinton later unveiled her higher-education platform, she called for killing FFELP. Her plan would use the savings generated by abolishing the program to help finance an $8-billion expansion of aid to student and colleges.

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