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Higher Ed in the News

Sen. Edward Kennedy was a longtime champion of higher education

August 26, 2009

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a lifelong champion of educational opportunity, died late Tuesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Mass.

Reliable defender of student aid

Kennedy, who represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate for more than four decades, had a hand in the creation of nearly every major federal student-aid program.  In the 1990s, he was a chief architect of the federal direct-loan program, in which the government lends money directly to students through their college.

Supported low-income students' access to postsecondary education

During the presidency of George W. Bush, Senator Kennedy fought the administration's attempts to abolish the TRIO college-preparatory programs, arguing that college access was key to equal opportunity. Joan Becker, who directs the TRIO programs at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, said Kennedy "believed that if low-income students don't have access to postsecondary education, then the democratic ideals on which this nation was founded could not be a reality."

Actively involved in final months

In May 2008, Senator Kennedy was told he had a malignant brain tumor, and he took a leave from Congress to seek treatment. But he remained actively involved in the final months of negotiations over the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act

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Read the full story from the Chronicle of Higher Education.