Rihanna just announced a new global scholarship through the Clara Lionel Foundation, expanding her philanthropic work to help the next generation achieve their dreams.

More than 40 million college graduates from the US carry debt from student loans. College tuition in the US is extremely high, to the point where student debt can become a crippling burden or prevent hardworking students from attending higher education in the US.

Rihanna is taking a stand through the Global Scholarship Program via her Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) to help kids from Barbados, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, Guyana, Jamaica with financial aid for attending American universities. Students must be accepted to a four year US university or college for the upcoming 2016-2017 year.

“To be able to give the gift of an education is actually an honor,” Rihanna told 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.”

Check out 6:50 in the video above to see how ecstatic Gianni Beltrez, a freshman at Hofstra and future journalism major, was to find out about the scholarship. “The best thing was seeing my mother’s face,” says Beltrez at 6:59.

Rihanna has made other efforts to assist the international community. She was just 18 years old when she started the Believe Foundation in 2006. Today, she continues to support young people by making college possible and affordable for 50 students who will receive the scholarship. The recipients will be announced in August this summer.

While this is a new addition to Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation (named after her grandparents), the artist and activist has cultivated philanthropic efforts in education, health, arts and culture through CLF since 2012.

To learn more or apply visit http://claralionelfoundation.org/.

It’s inspiring to see the impact activists like Rihanna can have on students and hardworking youth. Financial burdens should not prevent anyone from pursuing education. Hopefully, college and university in the US and access to education will someday be accessible and affordable for all. Until then: thank you Rihanna and everyone supporting and investing in education. 


Defeat Poverty

Rihanna saves students from debt through new Global Scholarship Program

By Meghan Werft