Often dubbed one of the coolest pop stars around for her interactions with her fans, Grammy Award-winning singer Rihanna is about to give back even more. Rihanna’s latest contribution is academic in nature with the launching of a college scholarship program through her Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) that can see benefits awarded to residents from the U.S., Latin American countries, and several Caribbean Islands.
The college scholarship, which Rihanna and her Clara Lionel Foundation will be offering, is one for incoming freshman students who seek to attend a four-year university within the United States, and the eligible student has to be working towards obtaining a bachelor’s degree. It will become available in time for the upcoming 2016 academic year. The students must also either be U.S. residents or study in the United States internationally from a select number of Caribbean Islands, namely Rihanna’s native country of Barbados as well as Brazil, Cuba, Guyana, Haiti, or Jamaica.
— Scholarship Jamaica (@scholarshipja) May 11, 2016
The eligibility requirements also require the applicant to already be accepted into the four-year program at the college or university of their choice within the U.S. for the 2016-2017 academic year.
University Herald wrote that Rihanna has stated she is thrilled to provide an educational opportunity through a college scholarship to those who are in need of it. The scholarships the Clara Lionel Foundation will grant are ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 and are renewable for up to three years or until the qualified student’s degree program ends and they graduate. The grade point average the student must maintain in order to keep Rihanna’s scholarship grant is 2.5.
“To be able to give the gift of an education is actually an honor. Higher education will help provide perspective, opportunities and learning to a group of kids who really deserve it. I am thrilled to be able to do this.”
The prospect of trying to pay for college is a notorious deterrent for many students, and the thought of student loans that often take lifetimes to pay off is an option students hope to avoid but often ultimately undertake anyway. For many students from low-income backgrounds, the process of attending college is often only attainable by paying the tuition through a rigorous and demanding combination of work-study programs, part-time jobs, and loans on top of the workload from their school. Studies have shown that for these reasons students from low-income households, both in the U.S. and across the Caribbean, have a lower rate of graduation than persons who are financially comfortable.
Launched in 2012, the website for Rihanna’s CLF states that it was founded in honor of her grandparents Clara and Lionel Braithwaite, and she has also dedicated tour dates to them. The aim of the organization is to improve communities from around the globe and has already established an oncology and nuclear medicine treatment center. In addition, over 100 schools in Barbados have been granted funds. In 2014, Rihanna raised over $2 million, and in 2015, the amount raised increased and she ended with over $3 million.
Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty did not finish her own high school education but focused on her singing career instead. Now with 185 million records sold worldwide and after winning eight Grammy awards, Rihanna still recognizes the importance of educational opportunities, and according to Christian Science Monitor, she hopes that her CLF college scholarship program can help to ease the financial burden that so often accompanies these.
— MAKERS (@MAKERSwomen) May 11, 2016
Applications for Rihanna’s scholarship program are currently open and will close on June 10, 2016. The winning scholars will be announced on August 2016.
[Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]