Op-Ed: I’m an Asian American Harvard grad. Affirmative action helped me be admitted, but it still hurts
“A woman who was not offered a full ride to study at Harvard because of her race is suing the college, claiming that affirmative action is unconstitutional.”
I am a Harvard Law student. I was admitted to Harvard because I was the best student my graduating class. But the affirmative action that helped me get there was not enough to get me an excellent job so that I could pay for the $80,000 or more I needed to pay in tuition. So I could take my graduate education and earn a living wage after graduation.
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Harvard cannot afford to ignore my plight
To be honest, I’ve struggled with my ability to financially support myself as a law student since I moved back to my home state from Washington, D.C. as a freshman, after my undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina (UNC). I returned to my home state because it is where I was raised, but also because the quality of life there has not held up. I have learned to accept the circumstances and work with them.
As a result, I live with a roommate and pay room and board in my dorm room. I have no car. I have had to borrow from Harvard because I have not been able to work. After graduating, I returned to my home state and then moved back to Washington when the school was offering a scholarship to all incoming law students as part of the state’s Race to the Top competition. That scholarship program was not enough to pay for undergraduate tuition at UNC. So I was the first person from my graduating class to go to law school and take out a hefty loan out of Harvard’s endowment to pay for my education. This loan was not an affordable option for me because the interest rate is at or near double digits. But, as a full ride student, it was affordable.
I never imagined that my acceptance to law school could have cost me my life if I had not been able