Robert Siegel

When Karriem Saleem El-Amin went to prison in 1971 for the murder of Baltimore grocer David Lermer during a robbery, he was an 18-year-old killer named William Collins.

In 2013, El-Amin left prison after serving 42 years, 3 months and 3 days. Today, he is 60 years old, back in the city of his youth, converted to Islam, subdued by age and often baffled by the experience of freedom.

Little things, like dining in a restaurant, can be disorienting.

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Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Our co-host, Robert Siegel, has been in New Hampshire all week with the other journalists, pundits and campaign staffers who descend on the state every four years, and he's been captivated by some of the other visitors.

With New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary less than a week away, the publisher of the state's largest paper, the Union Leader, told NPR's Robert Siegel his assessment of how the Republican presidential race has played out thus far in a single word: "Extraordinary."

And the reason he describes the GOP campaign that way boils down to Donald Trump, who, despite coming in second in the Iowa caucuses this week, enjoys a double-digit advantage in most New Hampshire polls.

What do you get from a college education? And, given today's eye-popping costs, is it worth it? Through this academic year, we're following a group of college seniors from Montgomery County, Md., and asking them those questions. Among those students are three women on the verge of real life.

Alejandra Gonzalez is an in-state student at the University of Maryland, in College Park. She's one of 27,000 undergraduates. To help pay for college, she works at the admissions office.

Throughout this academic year, we're following a group of students who graduated from high school a few years ago in Montgomery County, Md., just outside Washington, D.C. We're asking about the choices they've made and about the cost and value of higher education.

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