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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Letter to the Editor
Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

With all due respect to Eli Evankovich's position as a state representative (R-54) and to his degree and background in business, I must challenge the basic premise of his column “Rethinking student loans” (Aug. 27 and that access to student loans should be governed by expected earnings.

For example, he comments: “If students were able to borrow based only on the value of their degree, wouldn't it cause students to think more closely about their course of study and what it will mean to them after college?” He comments further: “If a history major will, on average, earn less than an engineering or accounting major, I think that it makes perfect sense to give him the protection against ‘over-borrowing' for his education.”

The “value” to which Evankovich refers is “money.” As we know, many students contemplating careers after high school unfortunately do, in fact, base their choices on what they perceive will be the expected “value” of their decisions. I'd suggest, however, that access to post-high-school education should not be rationed based on one's potential ability to accumulate wealth.

Although we clearly need folks trained and skilled in the so-called “hard sciences” (physics, chemistry, engineering, etc.), our existence as a society would soon become dull and greatly diminished if we have fewer graduates from the humanities and social sciences; students in these disciplines deserve equal access to student loans.

Wayne Baughman


The writer holds bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

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