To the editor:

I understand Congress has to reduce the federal budget deficit and that a lot of people will be affected by budget cuts. But I'm very concerned about possible cuts in student loan programs and I hope Congress and the American people realize how important these loans are.Student loans have enabled millions of Americans to get an education. They have opened doors of opportunity that might otherwise be closed. Many students simply won't be able to afford an education if they don't have access to student loans.

Students choose private career schools because of the return on their investment: nationally, more than 60 percent of private career-school students graduate, compared with 43 percent at community colleges and 58 percent at four-year colleges. And 81 percent of private career school graduates are immediately placed in jobs within their chosen career field. Last year, private career schools in Utah served 4,902 students.

In 1991, Congress will review the Higher Education Act of 1965. As trade and technical schools must continue to be an option for many Americans, it is essential that people wishing to attend these schools remain eligible to participate in the federal student financial aid program.

Over the next decade, the greatest work-force opportunities are expected to be in the service and technical fields. If we are going to have the kind of skilled workers we need to compete in the 1990s we must provide training for this major segment of our work force.

Dixon Merrill

Utah Skills 2000

Salt Lake City