New FLCC Return to Finish program forgives unpaid bills

Mortarboard that says: Mama did it for you
Message on one graduate’s cap during the 2019 FLCC commencement.

Students who left Finger Lakes Community College before graduating and have unpaid bills to the college can now return and get up to $1,200 of those charges canceled upon graduation.

The new program, called Return to Finish, is meant to help students who may have been unable to register for classes due to previous debt. The deadline to enroll in Return to Finish is Jan. 8, 2020.

“We know that many of our students face multiple challenges, from medical and family issues to emergency expenses. Sometimes these issues become overwhelming and lead them to withdraw from college,” said Matthew Stever, FLCC director of admissions. “This program allows students to come back with a way to manage their past debt.”

Data show that financial problems can cause students to withdraw from school. This new policy is one way to level the playing field for underrepresented students, a key element of the FLCC strategic plan.

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Mom of seven among scholarship recipients

Demetrice Garcia is a mom to seven children, ranging in age from 20 to just seven months and she works part-time in the emergency department of a local hospital.

That’s plenty to juggle. For Garcia, there’s more: She’s also enrolled full-time as a biotechnology major at Finger Lakes Community College.

Professor Bryan Ingham posing with student Demetrice Garcia
Demetrice “Demi” Garcia of Newark is shown with FLCC mathematics professor Bryan Ingham. Ingham and his wife, Christine, started the scholarship that Garcia received for the current academic year.

Garcia says she wouldn’t be able to pursue her dream of earning a degree if it weren’t for the support she has received from her employer, family and friends. Her perseverance has been recognized at FLCC with another measure of relief: she was recently awarded the Fred and Mary Jennejahn Memorial Scholarship.

The $1,000 award was created by FLCC mathematics professor Bryan Ingham and his wife, Christine, in honor of his grandparents. Fred was a WWII veteran, Rotarian and volunteer firefighter, while his wife was a longtime middle school math teacher.

FLCC scholarships advance Objective 1 by fostering self-advocacy and improving retention by removing financial barriers.

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FLCC student honored by SUNY for excellence

Finger Lakes Community College student Khadija Muhammadi of Rochester has received the 2019 Norman R. McConney Jr. Award, an honor that recognizes excellence among participants in the State University of New York Educational Opportunity Program.

Woman wearing hijab
Khadija Muhammadi is a mathematics major at FLCC.

SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson congratulated Muhammadi and other students from across New York at a ceremony on Oct. 17 at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan.

The award bears the name of the late Norman McConney, one of the architects of the statewide Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which provides financial assistance and support to those who face obstacles in achieving their educational and personal goals.

Muhammadi immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in 2015 to live with two sisters while finishing high school in Irondequoit. Her parents and brother remain in her home country; she keeps in touch via Skype.

The Educational Opportunity Program supports Objective 2 by providing support to students from underserved populations.

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