"Helping Parents Pay Tuition" {editorial, Feb. 6} extolled the virtues of coherent plans to aid parents who are faced with ever-rising tuition costs. In the past 10 years, college tuition has risen faster than any single commodity in the United States, at almost twice the rate of inflation and faster than interest can accrue on investments. Therefore, The Post's advocacy of sound and carefully constructed policies to aid parents in the tuition struggle gained my full support. What nagged me was a skunk I smelled in the editorial pages only two days earlier.

On Feb. 4, the editorial "A Picnic in Need of a Skunk" trashed one of the soundest ideas for aiding parents caught in the tuition trap. The plan whereby parents could buy U.S. saving bonds -- the interest on which would be tax-free when the bonds were cashed for college tuition -- is a carefully constructed program. Its overwhelming support by almost every member of Congress -- liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, even those not running for election -- speaks to its merits.

The Feb. 4 editorial stated that higher education is not the most urgent place to spend the next federal tax dollar, and that we need to help the poor rather than to subsidize the middle class. This completely misconstrues the nature of the savings bond program. First, the bonds would be paid for with income that had already been taxed. Second, U.S. savings bonds provide the government with immediate additional capital, which can be used for many programs, including aid to the poor. Finally, the tax-free income gained from bonds could be used only toward college tuition, thereby ensuring an investment in the most valuable product we produce: educated minds.

Contradictions in The Post's two editorials notwithstanding, that which we call a skunk by any other name would never smell sweet. SAM LAMBROZA Alexandria