Beyoncé’s announcement that she would be marking the one year anniversary of her groundbreaking Lemonade album by launching Formation Scholars to, “encourage and support young women who aren’t afraid to think outside the box, and are bold, creative, conscious, and confident,” is bringing amazing attention to the four schools where the scholarships will be awarded, but particularly HBCUs Howard University and Spelman University. It’s not the first time that a high profile figure has committed to education – Beyoncé is joining the company of other high –profile education advocates who are funding futures for students.
LeBron James pledged to send 1,100 kids in his hometown of Akron, Ohio to college (to the tune of $41 million). The students, who started in third grade – a time when students become most at risk for dropping out of school later in life – with mentorships courtesy of James’ foundation, will be mentored for the rest of their schooling and if they maintain a GPA of at least 3.0, will go to college on James. Since 2009, will.i.am has awarded scholarships to “future visionaries, leaders and innovators” in need of financial support – to date, the program has reached 37 students. Film legend Kirk Douglas and his wife Ann have endowed Douglas’ alma mater, St. Lawrence University, with scholarships and funding for a residence hall named after Douglas. Students selected come from “underrepresented and low-income backgrounds and are chosen for their demonstrated leadership skills, ambition and potential to contribute to diversity with the campus community.”
Celebrities putting their backing behind education demonstrates just how meaningful this kind of support can be, drawing attention to the financial needs students face when going to college. It’s not just superstars, though, who can make a meaningful difference in kids’ lives. School counselors, mentors, community leaders, and parents can provide supports as students are applying to college and exploring pathways. They can also be incredibly helpful in filling out the FAFSA forms that help students receive financial aid. It takes a village…and we’re glad to see Beyoncé join the legions of leaders who are getting in formation to help students succeed on the path to college – and BEYond!