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A number of area colleges and universities have announced they plan to reopen in the fall. Their plans come with modifications to the academic calendar, online courses, and policies that address physical distancing and safety guidelines. Meanwhile, students, faculty, and parents have questions and concerns about what to anticipate.

We talk with the presidents of three local colleges about what they’re expecting for their institutions. Our guests:

Psychiatrists and mental health counselors across the country say college students are facing a campus mental health "epidemic." NPR reported on the issue last year, and now, with the pandemic shutting down campuses and pushing students to online learning at home, many may face additional challenges.

The SUNY system has created a task force to enhance mental health support and services for students. This hour, we discuss the work of that group, and how the pandemic is impacting students' mental health. Our guests:

  • Kate Wolfe-Lyga, director of the Counseling Services Center at SUNY College at Oswego
  • B. Janet Hibbs, family and couples psychotherapist, and co-author of "The Stressed Years of Their Lives"
  • Brigid Cahill, director of the University Counseling Center at the University of Rochester
  • Stephanie Guilin, student at Monroe Community College, and mental health advocate

freeimages.com/Griszka Niewiadomski

Another local community college is trying to make it easier for former students to return and earn their degrees and certificates.

Finger Lakes Community College is launching a Return to Finish program that will cancel any outstanding college bills, up to $1,200, once the student graduates.

When celebrity parents Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin were arrested this week, it set off a national conversation about what parents will do to help their children. According to law enforcement, Huffman and Laughlin paid bribes to agencies that would create false profiles in order to help their children get into elite colleges.

Our guests discuss the value of letting children fail, and the advantages that wealthy families have. In studio:

www.wells.edu

Reporter Claudio Sanchez, who appears regularly on NPR programs like Morning Edition and All Things Considered, took part this week in the 150th anniversary kickoff at Wells College in Aurora, in Cayuga County on Thursday.

He was part of a discussion on a wide range of topics, including the future of higher education in America.

www.gpb.org

Governor Andrew Cuomo says  that approximately 53 percent of full-time SUNY and CUNY in-state students, more than 210,000 New York residents, are going to school tuition-free thanks to the addition of students receiving the Excelsior Scholarship. Nearly 22,000 students will be getting that new scholarship.

npr.org

New York State is planning to expand opportunities for college courses in some state prisons. Governor Andrew Cuomo and Manhattan D-A Cyrus Vance say $7.3 million will provide college-level education and training for  more than 2,500 prisoners across the state.

The money comes from large bank settlements secured by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. 

Among the programs in this region will be classes at the Albion Correctional facility, provided by Medaille College and Five Points Correctional Facility, with services provided by Cornell University.

www.gpb.org

(AP) - New York college students can apply for the state's free tuition plan beginning June 7.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation Board of Trustees approved Excelsior Scholarship regulations last week.

The initiative was a key priority for Cuomo. It covers tuition at state universities for full-time, in-state students whose families earn $125,000 or less.

Students must pay out of pocket for room, board and other expenses.

Recently, we heard from Nazareth College President Daan Braveman, who wanted to stress the point that the cost of college is not rising as quickly as many people seem to think. That's because the sticker price is not the same as the actual price most students pay.

But University of Rochester graduate and author Kevin Connell counters that there is indeed a crisis in higher education. His new book, Breaking Point, is being released, and Connell is back in Rochester for a book talk. First, he joins us on Connections to discuss the problems he sees, along with possible solutions.

When Nazareth College President Daan Braveman said on a recent show that the cost of college is not rising as much as people think, many listeners called or wrote to the program, asking for clarification.

We look at the facts: actual price versus sticker price. Help for low-income families. Needs-blind admissions. The impact of schools being pushed to have much nicer amenities. In the end, we hope to have a clearer picture about the cost of higher education for students, families, and taxpayers. Our guests:

  • Daan Braveman, president of Nazareth College
  • Ian Mortimer, vice president for enrollment management at Nazareth College

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