Hip hop artist Nicki Minaj caught people’s attention over the weekend for offering to help out with some of her fans’ college costs and student loans. Minaj’s generosity highlights the challenges students face financing their education in an era of eroding public support for higher education.
Though Minaj certainly can’t solve the college affordability and student-debt crisis with her tweets, she did bring more attention to the issue, which is an important step, said Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor at Temple University, and an expert on college costs. What’s more, the Twitter interactions do accurately reflect what we know about student debt and college costs from data, she said. Many of the requests were for relatively small amounts and it’s often those with small funding gaps and low levels of debt who struggle the most.
“The more people with big voices who can talk about this the better,” she said. “We are not exactly run amok with celebrities who even acknowledge college prices.”
Still, it does seem that student debt and college affordability are becoming increasingly relevant in popular culture as the struggle to afford school becomes an almost universal American experience. Minaj is not the first celebrity to offer to pay off student loans and stars ranging from Beynoce to LeBron James have their own scholarship programs.
Big up to you Nicki, big up!