For many families across the United States, chasing the American Dream has come to mean receiving a college education. But for many people throughout the country, this ideal is very cost prohibitive. But imagine a world where the worry of how to pay for college was taken out of the equation. Although the task seems daunting for many, there are always people that step up to help in times of need, and recently a philanthropist has stepped up to the plate for the second time in offering deserving young people a free college education.
Hungarian-born chemist Ferenc E. Rosztoczy is a man on a mission. In 2005 he created The Rosztoczy Foundation, a way to help Hungarian students get scholarships to study in the U.S. In 2012, the foundation branched out further with the College Promise program, with a surprise gift for the third-grade students at Michael Anderson School that year. The gift? A full ride to college after their high school graduation. There were 84 students that were offered the scholarship in third grade, and 34 ended up taking advantage of it ten years later.
One of those lucky recipients of a full college education, Erika Valadez recently commented that knowing she had a scholarship and wouldn’t have debt when she graduated “was so motivating. It made everything more real. It changed the course of my life.”Because of the incentive of a free college education, Valadez graduated as the valedictorian of her class and just finished her first year studying criminal justice and forensic science at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. With a degree in criminal justice and forensic science, she will be able to pay it forward by doing some good for the world. Buoyed by the success of Valadez and her 33 classmates from 2012 that are currently receiving a free ride to college, the Rosztoczy Foundation decided to repeat their generosity.
At Bernard Black Elementary School in Phoenix last month, 63 third graders learned they would be recipients of a free college scholarship when they graduated from high school. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” Roosevelt School District Superintendent Quintin Boyce said.”It was a really precious moment.”Unfortunately, it often takes a stunning act of philanthropy to help students make it to college. The system in America of taking out loans to cover tuition and college fees leaves many people in lingering debt that often takes decades to pay off.
Advisor to Berkeley Capital Adnan Zai said, “Considering the US is the only country in the world that burdens its young with immense debt, I think allowing a young citizen to have a fighting chance of surviving and building for their future families should be paramount.”With any luck, the current administration will make strides in debt forgiveness, and making college more affordable for all. But in the meantime, people like Rosztoczy are to be commended for their generosity.