Rihanna Offers College Scholarships to Caribbean Students

Rihanna will be giving scholarships to mostly Caribbean-based students so they can go to college in the United States, the popular recording artist announced this week.

“To be able to give the gift of an education is actually an honor,” the Barbados native and Grammy-winning singer told USA Today College Monday. “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.” Students from Brazil, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, Guyana and Jamaica, or the United States can apply until June 10, 2016, if they have already been accepted into a bachelor’s degree program at a U.S. university for the 2016-2017 year.

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A committee will then screen 50 finalists and the winners will receive between US$5,000 and US$50,000 for their first year at school. They can renew the scholarship for three years, until they obtain a bachelor's degree. The grants are funded through Rihanna's non-profit organization, the Clara Lionel Foundation, founded in 2012 and named after her grandparents. Despite the geographic proximity, students from Caribbean countries are usually under-represented among foreign people studying in the U.S.

According to a 2015 report from non-profit Institute for International Education, less than 300 students from Barbados studied in the U.S. during the 2014-15 school year, and only 94 Cuban students. As for Brazil, it ranked sixth, with a total of 23,675 students enrolled in U.S. schools in the 2041-15 school year, representing less than 10 percent of the 304,040 China-based students who studied in the U.S. over the same period.

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