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.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with an associate degree generally have higher rates of employment and higher wages than those with some or no college credits.

“Just a few more classes might make all the difference in giving someone financial stability,” Stever added.

Students accepted into the program will have their old bills deferred until graduation. Upon graduation, the college will forgive past-due bills up to $1,200.

This program only applies to students whose debt has not been turned over to collections. It is not a student loan forgiveness program.

Enrollment begins with a meeting with an FLCC One Stop Center representative to go over the steps involved in Return to Finish. An appointment is recommended but not required at (585) 785-1000 or

Author: Lenore Friend

Lenore Friend is the community affairs director at FLCC and the college's liaison with Finger Lakes TV. Contact her at (585) 785-1623 or