education is not an entitlement but rather a privilege. Many years ago, as a student at Baltimore’s Morgan State College (now university), I carried a full course load while holding a number of jobs such as waiting tables, delivering telegrams, and working as a lifeguard. In addition to these jobs, I also launched entrepreneurial ventures, including flower-delivery and landscaping businesses, to help finance college expenses. To put it bluntly, I was willing to hustle to pay for the education my family could not afford. Those aspiring to attend college today must be willing to do the same, whether they have access to grants, loans, their parents’ resources, scholarships — or not.
The fact is, once you get past the sticker shock of college costs and truly commit to the goal of a college education, you will find ways to afford that investment. The sacrifices we make today to increase the number of black college graduates will be more than repaid in the long term. Moreover, the costs of not pursuing a college education — more than $1 million in lost earning power per person — is far more than we can afford as African Americans. The old adage still holds: If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.