Barbados-born international superstar Rihanna recently launched a global scholarship program for international students enrolled in a U.S. college, courtesy of her Clara Lionel Foundation.
On May 9, Rihanna took to Instagram to announce the launch of her scholarship program, which would award first-year students who are citizens or natives of Brazil, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, Guyana and Jamaica between $5,000 and $50,000 in funds. The need-based scholarships would be renewable until each grantee earns a bachelor’s degree in the U.S.
“To be able to give the gift of an education is actually an honor,” Rihanna said in a statement to USA Today. “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.”
With fewer than 300 students from Barbados and only 94 Cubans studying in the U.S. during the 2014-15 school year, according to the 2015 Institute for International Education, the pop superstar looks to expand Caribbean education.
Each applicant must be accepted into an accredited four-year college or university for the entire 2016-2017 academic year and may be eligible for renewal, contingent upon the student’s academic performance—maintaining a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
In 2012, Rihanna established the Clara Lionel Foundation in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite, to improve the quality of life for communities globally in the areas of health, education, arts and culture.
Since establishing her organization, Rihanna has raised over $5 million for programs under her foundation—the Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program and the Barbados Micro Grants for Schools Program—and every year throws an extravagant “Diamond Ball” to help raise funds.