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Not just money

| 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 TribLIVE.com) 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

Salem

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

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