Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Today's college students won't have a normal college experience — one with classes, graduations, internships and campus love.

Where it stands: Colleges' decisions about openings and closing are just as inconsistent as school districts', but with different stakes and a lot more money on the line.

The big picture: Some students get to go back to campus in the fall, and some don't.

  • It's complicated, and it could all change at any time.
  • Generational spokesman and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday released complex guidelines that largely leave it up to schools whether to open their campuses or not.
  • Some schools are splitting the baby: Check out Boston University, where "arriving freshmen and returning undergraduate students will have a choice of attending in-person classes or taking classes remotely under a new hybrid teaching format the University is calling Learn from Anywhere (LfA)." 

Between the lines: There are all kinds of thorny issues at play here — from the complicated relationship between U.S. universities and foreign students, to the sad fact that Black kids are more likely to suffer if campuses are closed.

What they're saying: For young people in particular, it's important for us to focus on a "sense of the future, and to remind ourselves that we’re in this with other people," Joshua Morganstein of the American Psychiatric Association tells Axios.

My thought bubble: These are hard times. The normal instinct to speak up for what you believe in is intensified because of all that is going on, and it's hard to figure out what one's priorities should be.

  • But college stuff is fun. Please buy the team jersey, take classes that require you to read "Beowulf," and stay idealistic to make the world a better place for all of us.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 16, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. surpassed 8 million coronavirus cases on Friday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Coronavirus infections jumped by almost 17% over the past week as the number of new cases across the country increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C., according to a seven-day average tracked by Axios.

What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

America’s rapid and urgent transition to online school has come with a host of unforeseen consequences that are only getting worse as it continues into the fall.

The big picture: The issues range from data privacy to plagiarism, and schools are ill-equipped to deal with them, experts say.

29 mins ago - World

"I stood up for that": Pope Francis voices support for same-sex civil unions

Pope Francis at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. Photo: Vatican Pool - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Pope Francis voiced his support for same-sex civil unions for the first time as pope in the documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival, per the Catholic News Agency.

Why it matters: The pope’s remarks represent a break from the position of the Roman Catholic Church, which has long taught that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered" and contrary to natural law.