Education

Homeless Man Will Get His Degree After 40 Years Thanks to Student

The student worked to get him re-admitted, and an alum is paying his tuition.


When David Carter enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin in 1971, he dreamed of becoming a great artist or writer. When he dropped out a few years later because of mental health issues, he dreamed one day he might go back.

Student Ryan Chandler located the homeless man's college transcripts.

Fast forward 40+ years. Carter, 65, was homeless and a well-known panhandler around the UT Austin campus. Aspiring journalist Ryan Chandler decided to interview him for a class project on homelessness, but once he discovered Carter was once a student at the same university, he knew he had to do something.

Turns out, Carter had tried to re-enroll at UT Austin several times, but didn't have a computer or money to pay for application fees. Chandler worked to cut through the red tape, getting a hold of Carter's transcripts and convincing school administrators to re-admit him.

Publicity about the student's effort caught the attention of an anonymous UT Austin alumni, who offered to pay Carter's tuition."[Chandler] did what had to be done to get me enrolled in those classes, and I couldn't have done it without him," Carter told Spectrum Local News .

"It's the greatest blessing I've ever received." David Carter

Doug Dempster, the dean of the College of Fine Arts, issued a statement commending Chandler and Carter, and promising to give Carter the support he needs to complete his degree. "David Carter's resolve to complete his degree is testament to finishing well what was started, and interrupted, even decades earlier. We admire his courage and persistence."

(Images: Ryan Chandler Twitter page )

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