Homeless man admitted back into University of Texas

AUSTIN, Texas -- A homeless man who is frequently seen near the University of Texas hasn't stepped foot in a college classroom in 35 years.

One student is helping change that, in hopes that it gives him a chance to turn his life around.

For six years, David Carter has been a constant presence near the UT Austin campus, Spectrum News reports.

"He's a pretty familiar face around the UT community. He's out on 24th and Guadalupe almost every day," student Ryan Chandler says.

That's the same location Ryan spoke to David for the first time.

"I decided to interview him one day to get his perspective on the homeless issue in Austin, and that led to a series of a lot of other stories because once I heard his background it was obviously so capitvating," Ryan says.

Ryan learned that David had been a student at UT 35 years ago.

"I was a studio art major. I had a small scholarship," David says.

However, after an accident hurt his hand, David dropped out of college.

That was the start of his long battle with schizophrenia, substance abuse and homelessness.

For the past six years, David has panhandled in the same spot on the drag, but hopes for a better life.

"What I'd like to do is spend the rest of my life just doing research and writing books. But I think the books I write will be better because of the college education and coming into contact with great minds," David says.

When Ryan heard of David's hopes to return to school, he made it his mission to help.

"He really just needed an advocate who has worked with that system before and has connections on campus that can help him and advocate for him," Ryan says.

Over the past six months, Ryan helped David re-apply.

Last month, they got the news they had hoped for. David was re-admitted to UT.

"This has been something that we've been working on pretty constantly for the past six months, and seeing it finally come to fruition is pretty awesome," Ryan says.

"I couldn't have done it without him," David adds.

David begins his two courses, US History and Black Political Thought, this Thursday.

"It means the world to me," David says.

"Everybody has a story just like him, so if we were to extend the sympathy that we show to David to everybody, then we could really end the systemic stereotypes around homelessness," Ryan says.

An anonymous alumnus has paid for David's tuition, but he still has to figure out how to buy supplies and books.

He says he's not going to let that stop him from giving it his best shot.