Back to school season can be a costly time of year, especially for cash-strapped students and parents. College tuition rates continue to soar, while grade school children often need new school supplies and gear at the start of the school year. However, a number of celebrities have helped ease the cost of education for needy students this year through financial assistance and scholarships.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter are dishing out over $ 1 million in scholarship funds for select students around the country throughout the remainder of their worldwide On The Run II (OTRII) tour. On Saturday, the power couple announced a new scholarship program that will award one exceptional high school senior with $100,000 during each of the tour’s stops in the U.S. The 11 cities include New Orleans, Orlando, Miami, Houston, and Atlanta where the entertainers performed over the weekend.
According to a press release, the financial funding will be used to help the students cover the costs of their enrollment in a college or university for the academic year 2018-19. “Qualified students must demonstrate academic excellence and show financial needs,” reads the statement, while the recipients will be chosen by The Boys and Girls Club of America.
The Carters have a long, philanthropic history. Beyoncé, through her BeyGOOD initiative, created the Formation Scholars Award in 2017, which was given to four female HBCU students. Plus, all the proceeds from her Beyoncé x Balmain collection benefit the United Negro College Fund to help students of color attend college. Meanwhile, Jay-Z and his mother, Gloria Carter, created The Shawn Carter Foundation in 2003, which hosts college tours to HBCUs and provides scholarships to college-bound students.
LeBron James has been offering gifted students from disenfranchised communities a free ride to attend the University of Akron through his I Promise program since 2015. In order to qualify for the scholarship, students enrolled in the program must meet specific markers like maintaining a 3.0 GPA by their senior year in high school.
In addition to offering the scholarship, the NBA All-Star opened a new public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, back in July to provide underprivileged children with a holistic education.
After hearing about a Florida teenager who was humiliated for falling short to pay for her school lunch, Clifford “T.I.” Joseph Harris Jr. stepped in to pay for the student’s school lunch for an entire year.
The incident occurred in August when Danielle Aiken was denied lunch by a cafeteria worker at University High in Central Florida because her school-lunch account was short by 15 cents, reports WKMG. In response, the cafeteria worker reportedly threw Aiken’s uneaten lunch in the trash, forcing the student to go the whole school day without eating.
Harris, like many social media users, expressed outrage and disgust about the incident. He also offered to pay for the student’s lunch for the rest of the year. Aiken later confirmed to WKMG that the hip-hop mogul indeed donated money.
In February, Aubrey “Drake” Graham donated the entire $1 million budget originally allocated to shoot his “God’s Plan” video. The donations included $25,000 for a local high school and a $50,000 scholarship to a hardworking student, both in Miami. He described the act of generosity on social media as “the most important thing I have ever done in my career.” He added, “Last 3 days were the best I have had in a very long time…there’s nothing like seeing people experience a joyful moment when you can tell they need it the most.”
Last month, Nicki Minaj launched the “Student of the Game” scholarship, which awarded 37 of her die-hard fans with funding to pay off their entire college tuition or their student loans. The 35-year-old rapper also spontaneously paid off a handful of her fans’ financial needs in May 2017 after they posted about their struggle to pay their loans and/or school expenses on social media.
Earlier this month, Compton rapper Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson, professionally known as Y.G., donated $150,000 to Girl Code LA, a nonprofit organization that aims to develop, expose, and empower young women through STEM. In a statement, the West Coast emcee noted that sexism plays in negatively impacting girls.
“Gender bias plays a role in the amount of exposure students receive in regards to technology and coding,” he said. “This leads to influence future decisions within their field, creating smaller opportunities for diversity. With my donation, I hope they’ll be able to expand their reach of future female coders and programmers.”
YG also gifted the young coders with new Beats by Dre headphones and held a mentoring session with the girls to discuss the importance of exploring non-traditional career paths.