“The TSU experience has allowed me of African background, to attend an HBCU and really buy into that vision. That made a great difference to me.“
After finishing high school in Houston, GOODLUCK IJEZIE-DEBOIS was poised and ready to pursue a degree in medicine at Baylor University. He enrolled, worked hard, and was well on his way to achieving his dream.
But then reality hit him hard. An immigrant (his father is from Nigeria), Goodluck discovered his immigrant status meant he wasn’t eligible for any financial aid.
“I wasn’t able to get grants, or scholarships or anything,” he said.
That meant, he would be forced to leave Baylor, despite having more than 30 credits.
“I ended up leaving there with a deficit. I lost all my credits,” he said.
Deterred, yet determined, Goodluck attended Houston Community College and then transferred to Texas Southern University once he found a program that he could graduate from in a reasonable amount of time.
Starting over wasn’t easy, especially because Goodluck was still financially strapped.
“My father used his last dollar at Baylor, so he didn’t have any more money. He owned a small grocery store so he got some of his friends together and they raised money for me to attend TSU.” Still, that wasn’t enough. Thankfully, Goodluck says, he was able to get a scholarship at TSU.
“Eventually, I did get a green card and I became eligible to receive scholarships and grants and it’s really turned around my perspective and my ability to receive them. I wouldn’t be this far into my program at the last year if I hadn’t received that type of financial assistance,” he said.
Now, the once-quiet young man has emerged from his shell as a vocal student leader.
“I have fallen in love with TSU because of the opportunities it has afforded me. One, in particular, includes being on the debate team and being a part of so many organizations, whether it was scholastics or leadership. It’s brought me out of my inner comfort zone.
“I’ve grown to become someone who’s debated in front of large crowds and led major teaching workshops on campus. The TSU experience has allowed me of African background, to attend an HBCU and really buy into that vision. That made a great difference to me,” Goodluck said.
The experience has made him even more determined to give back.
“I think for those who take the challenge to go to an HBCU when we are afforded a scholarship it helps us to reaffirm our decision,” he said. “Donors should be reminded that anything that they can do provides help and can change someone’s life.”