Invest In College Or Prison? Pick One

Dr. Charles Mojock, president of Lake-Sumter State College, was interviewed July 31st in the South Lake Press newpaper:

"The Foundation has awarded more than $3.7 million in scholarships since 2008, including 773 scholarships totaling $643,400 in 2014."

“It has been the community which has stepped up over the years,” Mojock said. “When I got here, there was about $3.5 million in assets in the Foundation, and we’re now below $17 million, so we can do a whole lot more with those kinds of dollars to support students, and I think that is where we really get the edge. While we are a smaller college, the resources that we have make it possible for us to impact huge numbers.”

"The U.S. Department of Education has ranked Lake-Sumter State College third in the state for affordability among four-year schools."

So with $17 million in foundation assets, and ranked 3rd in the state in affordability among colleges, how does this translate to homeless youth who are seeking a college education? Or does it?

How many scholarships have been awarded to homeless youth? Affordable college is not an accessible avenue only for those who have a permanent home. To suggest that homeless youth must navigate the federal funding avenues to get their tuition paid is as obtuse and it is stupid. 

Our homeless youth are ours. Not the federal government's. It is our responsibility to ensure they receive a college education. Not the federal government through some HUD waiver. 

Our community must assume this responsibility. This includes our community colleges. To ignore or pass off the responsibility is irresponsible. A flagrant slap in the face to those who need us the most. 

Does this foundation have a responsibility to ensure that those who want a college education, but who happen to be a youth and homeless, receive the best access towards a free education?

What does the college get in return for its investment? Less than 3% of adult youth who are homeless will graduate college. By investing in their efforts, these young adults will gain substantial employment opportunities. Begin to pay taxes. Pump more money into the local economy. 

And be an example for the next set of homeless youth right behind them. 

This foundation's mission speaks of service to the community. What better way to serve the community than to invest in one of the most highly ignored populations. Homeless youth. 

With a collaborative effort with LSSC top administration, local nonprofit organizations, alumni, scholarships, fundraising events, donations, etc., every homeless youth can, and should, receive free tuition along with scholarship funds to assist in other expenses.

Let me break it down. 

We can either invest in unemployment. In prisons. In crime. In drugs. In idleness. In youth sitting around smoking weed all day. 

In their frustration. In their depression. In their hopelessness. In their giving up on ever going to college. 

Or we can invest in our youth. 

And help to make them viable educated citizens. Research has consistently shown that any dollar spent on a youth is a return of two dollars back to that youth as far as the return on our dollar.

Let's invest in our youth in Central Florida by providing free college tuition to homeless youth.