David Carter, 67, was studying arts in the University of Texas at Austin but dropped out after completing 87 credits and will now be resuming his studies.
While most of the students at the University of Texas, Austin would recognize David Carter as a homeless old man seeking alms outside there campus for the past six years, I'm glad to tell you that is no more the case. The 67-year-old panhandler was granted a second chance in life to fulfill his dreams of completing his degree he had dropped out of 40 years ago, according to PEOPLE. The whole thing couldn't have been possible without a junior-year journalism student at the University of Texas, Ryan Chandler and anonymous alumni.
Most people might recognize David Carter as a panhandler on the Drag. But 35 years ago, he was working toward a degree from @UTAustin.— Texas Exes (@TexasExes) May 7, 2019
Now, with the help of one UT student, Carter plans to finish what he started → https://t.co/9Br0VKc62s pic.twitter.com/7eVsdusRNS
Chandler explains how after running into him several times he decided to interview Carter for his class project on homelessness. "I figured he would be a good person to talk to about homeless issues," he told PEOPLE. Little did the student anticipate the stunning details he learned from the conversation that ensued between the two. Soon Chandler began to relate to Carter as he found many things in common with him. Chandler explained how the 67-year-old man was studying arts on a scholarship at the very same college as him back in 1971.
David brought his UT transcript today. With 87 hours passed, he has been hoping to finish his degree since 1971. We’ve been talking with the Office of Admissions, and they’re working on re-admitting him for next spring. Let’s make 2020 his year @UTAustin #DegreeForDavid pic.twitter.com/jfMtcWprH4— Ryan Chandler (@RyanChandler98) February 28, 2019
However, things took a darker turn when Carter dropped out after hurting his hand during an accident. The Alcalde and Spectrum News Austin reported he was just 23-year-old when he called it quits and had completed 87 credits as well! Things didn't pan out well for him as he was struggling to cope with his addictions, schizophrenia, and homelessness. Leaving his hometown behind he hitchhiking around the country but decided to return Austin to take care of his ailing parents.
We did it! After 6 years of panhandling on the Drag, David Carter has been readmitted to @UTAustin and will resume his degree this week. Thanks to Longhorns’ support and an article published in @TheAlcalde, a Texas Ex has pledged to pay his full tuition. #DegreeForDavid pic.twitter.com/aY46snux6R— Ryan Chandler (@RyanChandler98) June 2, 2019
According to Good News Network, Carter liked spending time around the campus with the hope of getting a chance to complete the degree that he always dreamt of finishing. "When I heard his background, I was amazed so we kept in touch and became friends," said Chandler. "After I published a feature on him in December, his story gained some local attention and I got the ball rolling with the university." With Chandler's help, Carter was able to qualify for stable housing via a local nonprofit six years ago.
A great journalist remembers to always follow up on great stories. I love that you’ve done this several times with this one! Proud!!!!— Madison Hever (@MadisonHever) June 3, 2019
Carter did try several times to enroll himself back to school but he had no computer or money to pay for the enrollment form. However, Chandler seemed determined to get him back into school. "David has the intelligence and drive to get back to school. His situation just prevents him from having a reliable means of communication and the time to work through the process," he said. The grad student further explains how he helped him apply for the school. "Having gone through the very bureaucratic UT admissions process before, I was able to simply provide the connections and communications for him, set him up with an advisor and pay small fees related to his application," he added.
Thanks Ryan. You and David make me proud to be a Longhorn.— Boogieman Sam (@SamAllega) June 2, 2019
Chandler found out that Carter only needed another 64 credit hours to complete his degree and so he tried his best to enroll him and as fate might have it, after almost half a year of struggling, Carter finally got in! "David and I are both excited, but honestly, nervous at the same time," said Chandler. "David has not been a student since the ’70s, and since that time, he has gone through struggles most students never have to experience. It’s going to be a very long road ahead, and this is more of the beginning than the end."
Congratulations Ryan! You’ve worked very hard to give David a hand up. Look forward to seeing David fulfill his dream. 🧡🤘— Joell McNew (@JSM_ATX) June 2, 2019
The UT student thought of starting a GoFundMe campaign to pay for Carter's tuition fees but an anonymous UT Austin Alumni was graciously offered to pay for Carter's studies after learning about his life in the school's online magazine. Of course, Carter was overwhelmed with the kind of support everyone was offering him and told Spectrum Local News, "It’s the greatest blessing I’ve ever received." In addition to that, he thanked Carter and said, "He did what he had to be done to get me enrolled in those classes, and I couldn’t have done it without him."
"What I’d like to do is spend the rest of my life just doing research and writing books," Carter added. "But I think the books I write will be better because of the college education and coming into contact with the great minds." Speaking about the impact this would have in every student's life, Chandler said, "That was a major thing I wanted to show the UT community. Some students see the homeless as dangerous, lazy or annoying, and those stereotypes are simply wrong. No one chooses to be homeless. Those who are have been a victim to misfortunes outside of their control, such as mental illness, addiction or family problems." Adding further he said, "Davis is just one face behind those problems. He — and everyone like him — has hopes and dreams just like every fortunate person, and they deserve to be treated like it."
Way to go Ryan and David- what an inspiring story! Cannot wait to see the next chapter 🤘— Elizabeth (Liz) Richardson (@elysianliz) June 3, 2019
Thank you VERY MUCH Ryan!!! David is a dear friend of mine that I sadly had not seen in years after moving to from Austin. I met him while working at the ARCH. David lived with us for a month around 2007. Please tell him congratulations from his friend Martin.😊♥️♥️♥️👨🎓🤘#HookEm!— Martin Montero (@Montero) June 5, 2019