Randall White’s journey from Compton to college

Biola student, Randall White, shares his unique way of paying for college.



Randall White, junior music major. | Tomber Su/THE CHIMES

Ashley Donahue, Writer

If you’ve met junior Randall White, you probably love him. If you haven’t met him yet, you should. Not only is White’s kind, gentle and encouraging heart a gift to the Biola community, but the opportunity to be at Biola is a gift to him and has been for the past three years.

Meet Randall White

When White was a young boy, a guest speaker at his church approached him and his mother, pointed to White and said, “This boy isn’t going to have to pay for college.”

Today, White is living out that promise.

White grew up in Compton, Calif. with his mother, grandparents and brother. When White was a teenager, a church working on a project called the Compton Initiative came to help paint his house. His family had lost trust in churches for a while, but these people had a unique quality about them.

White suggested to his mom that they give this church a try, and he began to take the bus to church as a high school student. One of the families who helped paint his house soon discovered that it took him an hour to get to church, so they offered to drive him. Each week, White eagerly awaited the trip to youth group and Sunday church service.

“It was a point where I realized I needed more of God,” White explained.

Before he became so involved in church, White planned on going to Cal State Long Beach. When a friend suggested he apply to a Christian college, he looked into California Baptist University for their music program, where he was accepted with scholarships. After visiting Biola’s campus, he knew that this university “felt more like home,” so he set his eyes on getting here.

To make attending Biola a reality, White needed $15,000 that he simply didn’t have. Neither of White’s parents were a good candidate to co-sign for a loan, so he began to reach out to other family members with no avail.

A Fighting Chance

The school year inched closer, and White, still unsure about where he would come up with the money, asked the family who drove him to church every week. Although they denied the request, the woman felt called to help him raise the money in another way. She explained to White that he simply needed to find one thousand people to give him fifteen dollars.

That became their mission.

This woman told everyone she knew about White and asked for donations for his college fund. She held a charity dinner, contacted countless families and sold jewelry, all for White’s fund. Two months into his freshman year, White’s entire first semester was paid off. Money poured in from friends, coworkers, family and even churches from other states.

“It was very hard for me to tell my friends that I needed help paying for school. She told me that, by humbling myself, God would be able to work in big ways,” White said.

White continued to work hard in school, but this woman who helped him had exhausted all her resources. At the end of spring semester, White said goodbye to all his friends, unsure if he would return. Clouded with doubt and frustration, he pleaded with God.

“Why would you bring me to Biola and not keep me there? Why would this all happen and why would it all end?” White questioned.

Carrying the uncertainty of his future with him, White headed off to work at a camp for the summer. Once again, the payment deadline was approaching, and White didn’t have a plan. He finally told a few of his co-workers that he didn’t think he would be able to go back to school. One of his friends on staff encouraged him to post on the staff board, explain his situation and start a collection. White brushed off this advice at first.

“I didn’t want people to think of me as the person begging for money,” he explained.

After a few days of trying to convince White to start the collection, his friend went ahead and started it with White’s permission.

“After a while people started finding out about it. We made some money, but not nearly enough to go back to Biola,” White said.

During this process, another one of White’s coworkers approached him and explained that he talked to his parents and they wanted to help White pay for Biola.

A Miraculous Reality

Moreover, this family didn’t want to just give White some money; they wanted to pick up all of his school costs. White graciously began to crunch the numbers to determine the absolute bare minimum he needed to be at Biola.

Not only did this family pay for tuition, but they insisted he stay in the dorms and have a meal plan. They paid for his entire sophomore year at Biola and are continuing to help White now.

White said this journey has taught him about God’s faithfulness.

“He is sure to keep his promises, whatever they may be … He takes people through hard times and makes them into something totally outside of whatever they thought they might become. I feel like God is maybe leading me in that direction,” White said.

White lives every day knowing that God has covered him and his family in grace and has taught him humility along the way.

“I’ve learned that my life is definitely not mine or in my control, and that in submitting to God and his will I’m able to be anything,” White said.


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