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Research shows fewer high school seniors have applied to college during the pandemic, and the students who have been impacted the most are those from lower-income backgrounds. The data indicates that these students were more likely to be affected by financial challenges related to the pandemic, and also by direct health risks from the virus. Experts say the current disparity will contribute to education and wealth gaps in the long term.

What can be done? Our guests explain the challenges and share their ideas for how to support students. Our guests:

Most colleges and universities are planning to welcome students back to campus in just a few weeks. The schools bring a range of approaches – from testing to quarantines to allowing for remote learning. There is no single handbook for running higher education during a pandemic, but most universities in the Rochester/Finger Lakes region believe they can do it with sufficient safety and planning.

So what are those plans? We hear the approach from four different institutions. Our guests:

This is not turning out to be the summer that many college graduates anticipated. For those who expected to jump right into the workforce, many doors have closed due to the pandemic. Internships have dried up. Career fairs are canceled. Phone calls are not returned. The unemployment rate for 20-somethings is significantly higher than the general population. So what can new graduates do? How long is this going to last? Research shows that graduates in some fields are already ditching their career plans to find something else.  

This hour, our guests tell the story of the delayed launch of some of their career plans, how they’re adapting, and what comes next. Our guests:

  • Deprina Godboldo, M.A. in television-radio-film from Syracuse University
  • Devin Hott, B.A. in bioethics from the University of Rochester
  • Gabrielle Franks, B.A. in music technology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Lizzy Beach, B.S. in media management from St. John Fisher College

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.

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