Student Collected Rubbish To Pay For University Now He’s Heading To Harvard Law

by : Julia Banim on : 08 Jul 2020 12:51
Student Collected Rubbish To Pay For University Now He's Heading To Harvard LawStudent Collected Rubbish To Pay For University Now He's Heading To Harvard LawCBS This Morning

A student who collected rubbish to pay for his university education is now bound for the prestigious Harvard Law School.


At 18, Rehan Staton was struggling with financial issues, illness and the aftermath of a major sporting injury, with his circumstances holding him back from achieving his dreams.

Rehan, from Bowie, Maryland, and his brother, Reggie were raised by their father after their mother left the family home when Rehan was just eight years old. Suddenly a single parent, Rehan’s dad had to work two – or sometimes even three – jobs to keep his young family afloat.

You can watch the exact moment Rehan – now 24 – received his acceptance in the following news report:


Faced with difficulties at home, Rehan’s grades began to suffer by the time he reached 7th grade, and a teacher even recommended that he be placed in remedial classes.

It was at this point that Rehan’s dad took action to get his son back on track, with an aerospace engineer he’d met at a community centre offering to tutor Rehan free of charge for the rest of the school year.

Rehan told CNN:

I ended up getting on the Honor Roll the rest of that year. The same teacher who suggested I be placed in special education actually wrote my dad an apology note.

While continuing to improve upon his academic performance, Rehan also developed his talents for athletics and martial arts; training to be a professional boxer alongside his studies.

RehanRehanCBS This Morning

Sadly, Rehan suffered another set-back after suffering a double shoulder injury in the 12th grade, destroying his hopes of going pro after graduating.

He ended up hurriedly applying for a number of colleges before the end of the year, but received rejections from every single one.


Rehan ended up working as a garbage man to support his struggling family, and it was here that his colleagues quickly saw how much potential he had.

Some of his supportive co-workers decided to speak with the son of the garbage trucking company owners, Brent Bates, about Rehan’s academic promise. It was then that Bates introduced Rehan to a professor at Bowie State University.

RehanRehanCBS This Morning

This professor was left deeply impressed by Rehan’s obvious intelligence, and made an appeal to the college admissions board. Rehan began studying for an undergraduate degree at Bowie State later that same year, earning a 4.0 GPA.

During his time at Bowie State, Rehan began flourishing academically once again, becoming president of various organisations and winning numerous scholastic accolades.

Two years into his studies, and Rehan – who now realised he wanted to go to law school – transferred to the University of Maryland, graduating in 2018. While at the University of Maryland, Rehan continued collecting rubbish, working shifts before class. Sometimes he didn’t even have time to take a shower.

Rehan told NBC Washington:

I would have to sit on the side of class and try not to bother anybody with my scent that day.

RehanRehanCBS This Morning

Rehan didn’t just get through university, he excelled; even delivering the commencement speech at graduation.

In the year that followed, Rehan worked in political consulting while studying for the notoriously tough LSAT. During this time he was also battling with a stomach illness.


Despite his numerous hurdles, Rehan was accepted to various highly regarded law schools, including Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California, Pepperdine and Harvard.

Rehan is now preparing to begin his classes online at Harvard this autumn. He also intends to help other young people reach their potential by offering his services in LSAT tutoring and college counselling.

You can donate to Rehan’s GoFundMe page here.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Life, Bowie, Education, Harvard Law School, maryland, Now, Rehan Staton, University


gofundme and 3 others
  1. gofundme

    From Hauling Trash to Harvard Law

  2. CNN

    This student collected garbage to pay for college. Now he's headed to Harvard Law

  3. CBS News/YouTube

    Watch the moment a former sanitation worker finds out he got accepted to Harvard Law

  4. NBC Washington

    Former Maryland Sanitation Worker Accepted to Harvard Law