From Nicki Minaj to Alec Baldwin: the stars paying for students’ education

The rapper offered to pay fans’ college fees via Twitter – but she’s not the first celebrity to provide financial assistance for school studies

Forget the bank of mum and dad. In the age of broken promises and soaring tuition fees, could it be that the best way to get an education is via the bank of Beyoncé and Baldwin? Nicki Minaj is the latest celebrity to offer to pay fans’ college fees, inviting her 20 million Twitter followers to “Show me straight As that I can verify w/ur school and I’ll pay it. Who wants to join THAT contest?!?!” Judging by the 25,000 retweets and her promise to “do some more in a month or 2”, an extended world tour may be impending.

Thankfully, in a world where the annual cost of getting an education regularly runs into five figures, there are many more celebrity scholarships out there …

Formation Scholars

To mark the one year anniversary of the release of Lemonade, Beyoncé announced four scholarships awarded to four US colleges to “encourage and support young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious and confident”. The scholarship is open to female students pursuing studies in creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies.

Beyonce’s scholarships are named after a track from her Lemonade album.
Beyonce’s scholarships are named after a track from her Lemonade album. Photograph: GC Images/James Devaney

i.am scholarship

Providing “future visionaries, leaders and innovators with financial assistance” since 2009, will.i.am’s scholarship covers all expenses associated with higher education, including tuition, books, fees, room and board, for a maximum of four years studying at an accredited US institution. Since its inception it has awarded $550,000 to 37 scholars.

Oprah Winfrey Scholarship

An endowment fund targeting existing scholarship programmes focusing on ethnic minorities, especially women, who lack the funds to go through college. The Oprah Winfrey Foundation has, for example, awarded $2.5m (£1.9m) to New York University’s Wagner School to allow women from African countries to pursue graduate studies in public policy and management.

Alec Baldwin Drama Scholarship Fund

In 2009, Baldwin donated $1m (£770,000) to his alma mater, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, to establish a drama scholarship fund providing assistance to students with high artistic talent from disadvantaged families, or those who are the first in their families to attend college or university.

Kevin Spacey Foundation scholarship

Open to undergraduates in performing arts and film, the KSF scholarships are tied to Regent’s University in London and Pace University in New York. There are 13 scholarships available in London worth £30,000 over three years and seven at Pace covering $10,000 (£7,700) of tuition.

The Kevin Spacey Foundation scholarships are available in the UK and the US.
The Kevin Spacey Foundation scholarships are available in the UK and the US. Photograph: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

George RR Martin Screenwriting award

The Game of Thrones creator offers $5,000 (£3,850) a year via the New Mexico Film Foundation to exceptional filmmakers focusing on science fiction and fantasy genres and specifically writing for television. Applicants must submit a five-page treatment and sample script.

Rihanna Global Scholarship program

In 2016, Rihanna announced on Instagram that through her Clara Lionel Foundation she would award citizens of Brazil, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, Guyana or Jamaica between $5,000 (£3,850) and a whopping $50,000 (£38,500) to put towards their college education in the US. Successful applicants must contribute a personal essay, display “unusual personal or family circumstances”, have already been accepted into college, and maintain a 2.5 GPA throughout their degree.

Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship

This one has been going since 1985 at Ball State University, NY, the alma mater of David Letterman who graduated in 1969. Creativity is considered over grades, which is unusual for scholarship criteria (Letterman himself was a C student), and telecommunications students are required to submit a project in their chosen field of interest. The main award is $10,000 (£7,700) with two runner-ups winning $5,000 (£3,850) and $3,333 (£2,570) respectively.

Contributor

Chitra Ramaswamy

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Pass notes No 3,197: Alec Baldwin
The 30 Rock star has taken to Twitter to explain himself after an altercation with a photographer

20, Jun, 2012 @7:00 PM

Article image
Alec Baldwin and the fine art of becoming unfamous

The actor has become the latest celebrity to retire less than gracefully, says Pete Cashmore

Pete Cashmore

24, Feb, 2014 @4:32 PM

Article image
Tweeting advice for Alec Baldwin
Remember, everyone hates being hacked and that sometimes it's good to get angry

Rachel Roberts

10, Jul, 2011 @7:00 PM

Article image
The alternative VMAs: from best selfie to most overanalysed kiss
The awards we’d give to the ceremony’s most memorable moments …

Chitra Ramaswamy

29, Aug, 2016 @4:27 PM

Article image
For celebrities, walking on water is the new messiah complex
From Beyoncé to Rihanna to Jennifer Aniston, the miracles are coming thick and fast. There must be something on the water

Morwenna Ferrier

11, Jul, 2016 @7:00 AM

Article image
Alec Baldwin, is Words With Friends really that addictive?
The star of 30 Rock had to get off a plane because he refused to stop playing the Scrabble-like game. Would Tom Meltzer get similarly hooked?

Tom Meltzer

07, Dec, 2011 @8:30 PM

Article image
Alec Baldwin: another star we must bid farewell to

The star, dogged by accusations of homophobia, has turned his back on his adoring public. One day, perhaps, we will appreciate what we have lost

Marina Hyde

27, Feb, 2014 @6:37 PM

Article image
From Winona Forever to Cheryl’s eye: a short, terrible history of celebrity couple tattoos
Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson are getting serious: ink is involved. But perhaps the couple should have looked at some previous skin slip-ups

Stuart Heritage

02, Jul, 2018 @12:41 PM

Article image
Flower power: how to make Queen Bey’s floral crown
Blooming headpieces are the accessory of the summer, with Beyoncé and Rihanna wearing them on the cover of Vogue. But is it possible to knock one up at home?

Lauren Cochrane

07, Aug, 2018 @5:28 PM

Article image
Why fans think Avril Lavigne died and was replaced by a clone named Melissa
A rumour that the Canadian singer has been replaced by a lookalike resurfaced on Twitter last week, but she is not the first star to be subject to such speculation

Elena Cresci

16, May, 2017 @10:41 AM