Seeking the help from strangers near and far, Toronto resident Tonika Morgan launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $50,000 for tuition to one of the most prestigious schools in the US, Harvard University.
According to her campaign, Morgan was homeless and never had a chance to finish high school. She managed to overcome the obstacles of poverty, homelessness and even marginalization. After five months of self-convincing and nearly two years of academic preparation (even managed to get a university degree from Canada’s Ryerson), she submitted her application to the Ivy League school.
“It’s true that I’ve been homeless . It’s also true that I never finished high school. Overcoming the obstacles of poverty, homelessness and marginalization are achievements that have shaped me into the person I am today. But access to housing and basic education is a right. Getting into Harvard is a privilege.”
Just two months after submitting her application, Morgan received her admission’s letter from Harvard. Unfortunately, there’s a catch to her acceptance:
“I’m an international student with an unconventional education path. There are no scholarships for people like me to attend Harvard University— probably because nobody ever expects people (formerly homeless with an unusual academic path/accomplished young professional, but too young to be considered mid-career) like me to attend a school like Harvard.”
Morgan revealed that tuition plus living expenses for an international student is $71,000 USD. That includes roughly $50,000 for tuition, including mandatory health insurance and other fixed student fees plus $22,000 to live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the university is located. There is yet another catch in her education pursuit. In order for her to secure her visa to attend the school, she will need to provide evidence of the funds by May 15th.
In regards to what she plans to study at Harvard if she receives the funds, Morgan revealed:
“I’m a high school drop-out with a unconventional academic path. So naturally, I’m interested in the ways in which people who don’t neatly fit into systems and institutions manage to thrive/survive in the world. So I’m doing a Masters of Education, with a focus on non-traditional/alternative education (i.e. arts education). With that type of specialization, I get to enroll in classes at the Harvard Business School, Harvard Law and MIT.
“In the long run, I want to combine my policy and strategy background with my education. This will allow me to support alternative education organizations that focus on the arts, digital learning and economic development in a meaningful way.”
Since the campaign’s launch last month, it has raised over $45,000.
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