Hill Harper opens up on #OscarsSoWhite, "Limitless"

"Limitless" actor Hill Harper attends WIRED Cafe at Comic Con 2015 in San Diego at Omni Hotel on July 9, 2015, in San Diego, California.

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Hill Harper, who co-stars in the CBS show "Limitless," does not take the fictional intelligence-enhancing drug NZT-48 featured in the show, but it doesn't seem like that much of a stretch given his storied resume. The actor has been on "CSI: NY," "Covert Affairs" and was recently on the big screen in "Concussion"; Harper also has a bachelor's degree from Brown, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a master's degree from the Harvard Kennedy School.

It's no surprise, then, that the actor is a strong believer in the importance of higher education. He told CBS News that he wants high schoolers know that they can all afford an education after graduation. The National Honor Society (NHS) alum is working with the organization to help students access financial aid.

"A lot of young people get miseducation and pushed to fear about affording school," he said. "In many ways their dreams are curtailed by misinformation, so I wanted to work with the NHS and their Honor Your Future Now campaign to get people the information they deserve." Harper explained that students can go to the NHS website to learn about the different resources they can use to fund their education.

For Harper, education is very personal.

"My parents really hit home with me the importance and value of education, because to me, it's the foundation to build a life," he explained. "Big goals and dreams need a big foundation."

Harper himself had dreams of becoming a lawyer when he was a student, but he says these dreams changed once he took on a summer associate position at a law firm. "It didn't make my heart beat faster," he said.

Still, Harper says he doesn't regret attending law school at all: "I believe the purpose of education is to expand your options. Study whatever you're passionate about and then do what you're passionate about." Though Harper loved studying law, he decided he loved acting as a career path. But even now, he won't restrict his future.

"I feel that the best way for me to continue throughout my life is to find where I can create my best impact," he said. "If that's political, great. If it's strictly through philanthropy, that's great. Or maybe it will be businesses where I give people jobs, or just continuing to act and get nominated for an Oscar and creating legacy for art."

Speaking of the Academy Awards, what does the actor think about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy?

"Hopefully, this controversy will encourage more hiring, for instance, in the executive ranks and folks who can greenlight material that's more diverse," he responded. "There's no way to get nominated for an Oscar if it wasn't made and hopefully the conversation will make its way to this." Harper, for the record, does believe that his "Concussion" co-star Will Smith deserves an Oscar nod for his leading role in the film.

Harper also opened up on the Black Lives Matter movement and shared his hopes for the future.

"We really have to have a conversation about community-based policing versus military-style policing," he said. "Police officers are being taught to behave in a much more militaristic style versus community-based because they're not living where they police. If you're patrolling the area, you should live there. That way you get to know the people and the conversations are very different." Harper recently spoke at the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade in San Antonio, Texas, and is a very active voice in the Black Lives Matter conversation.

His main role at the moment, though, is as Special Agent Spelman Boyle on "Limitless," a show he calls "creative, risk-taking and innovative."

And would he take NZT-48 if given the chance?

"Absolutely," he said. "It gives you access to every part of your brain capacity and everything your subconscious or conscious has ever come into contact with. You could consciously remember being in your mother's womb. Come on, would you pass that up?"

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    Andrea is an entertainment producer at CBSNews.com