Just a few weeks after superstar Beyonce announced her scholarship programme, another American pop artist is chipping in to help US college students with their finances.
True to her No Frauds lyrics, “Generous Queen” Nicki Minaj over the weekend responded to a fan’s request to help pay for tuition on Twitter with a resounding “Yes”, according to The Guardian.
Well you wanna pay for my tuition? pic.twitter.com/BhDil75UPj
— ƆႱ (@cjbydesign) May 7, 2017
CJ, who goes by the Twitter handle @cjbydesign, had seen Minaj’s offer to sponsor the international airfare for any of her fans who wins a contest to spend time with her at the coming Billboard music awards.
In reply, the 21-year-old who is working two jobs to pay her college fees, tweeted to the rap star to help her pay for tuition as well.
Barely 10 minutes later, Minaj replied she will, as long as CJ showed proof she was doing well in school. Minaj’s generous offer led to more students sending in similar requests for financial help over the next few hours.
In United States, students are finding it hard to cope with the rising cost of college education. Some 44 million people have student loans to repay – nearly a quarter of the borrowers are in default, according to a Financial Times article last month.
Student loan debt now amounts to a massive US$1.4 trillion in total – a situation financial analysts say is causing a student loan bubble.
For students, their massive debt is leading some to drop out. Those who stay on struggles with unhealthy stress as they juggle college, work and repaying the loans at the same time.
These struggles were made all the clearer in the flurry of distress calls that followed CJ and Minaj’s initial exchange. Students facing financial stress started sending in copies of their report cards, saying they do not have the means to pay fees or to buy books and laptops for school.
One user @Ashley_Lovex3 tweeted: “I have $500 left of my tuition to be paid, single mother raising me and my lil bro.. from Queens, you would help me a lot”, to which Minaj replied “Got ya”.
Another user @hourdrive asked for US$1,800 so he can go back to Ohio University this fall, saying he will even send her the online bill.
Minaj replied: “Ok fine. I’ll pay it if u have proof.”
The Guardian reports the star offered to help more than 30 students in total, a pledge that will cost her around US$30,000.
Towards the end of the night, Minaj called it a wrap, saying she will go broke if she responded to all requests, but promised to make those payments tomorrow and to do this again in the future.
While Minaj’s financial aid for students may have come by chance, her philanthropy over the weekend now puts her in the same ranks as other black American artists giving out financial help to needy schools and students in the US.
Two weeks ago, Beyonce announced her Formation Scholarship to fund four young women to pursue their studies in creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies. One scholarship each will be awarded to either incoming or current students at Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design and Spelman College.
Earlier this year, BBC reports Chance The Rapper donated US$1 million to Chicago schools for “arts and enrichment programming”, calling for major companies in the state and country to do the same.
“This isn’t about politics, this isn’t about posturing, this is about taking care of the kids,” he said.