Beyonce Supports Women in College by Launching ‘Formation’ Scholarship at 4 Institutions

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Many students woke up to the news that Beyoncé has chosen to donate money to their schools to establish scholarships. Berklee College of Music, Parsons School of Design, and HBCUs Howard University and Spelman College were the four institutions chosen to receive those funds.

According to a statement released by the singer’s label, Parkwood Entertainment, in celebration of the one-year anniversary of her critically-acclaimed album, Lemonade, Beyoncé established Formation Scholars “to encourage and support young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious, and confident”.

With Black women becoming the most educated group, with increasing graduation rates, this program couldn’t have come along at a better time.

According to a 2016 National Center for Educational Statistics study, black women earned 68 percent of all associate degrees awarded to black students, as well as 66 percent of bachelor’s degrees between 2009 and 2010.

Four scholarships (one per college) will be awarded to female incoming, current or graduate students who are studying creative arts, music, literature, or African-American studies during the 2017-2018 academic year. Details and deadlines regarding the scholarship are available directly from the participating schools.

Social media was undoubtedly ablaze with excitement from students and alumni at the luckily chosen schools. However, the fanfare was met with disappointment and envy via those who felt like an unfortunate trend was occurring. Critics were upset that Beyoncé chose to only include Spelman and Howard, both historically Black colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that are currently ranked #1 and #2, respectively, according the U.S. News & World Report’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities list. To many, the Formation Scholars program being exclusively available at these two schools contributes to years of alleged elitism and entitlement.

 

However, Howard and Spelman students, alumni and others involved in the conversation were quick to defend the choice. Emphasis was put on not only the current rankings of the two institutions, but also their legacies of producing record numbers of Black graduates succeeding across numerous career fields.

Similar debates arose earlier in March when Google and Howard University announced a partnership to launch  Howard West, a three-month, summer Computer Science residency program for rising juniors and seniors in the Computer Science program at Howard.The program, that will send 25 to 30 students to Google’s Silicon Valley campus beginning this summer, is in an effort to recruit more Black software engineers” from HBCUs. Many were impressed with this news because it will offer more opportunities to minority groups, especially African-Americans, who are known to be overlooked within the STEM community. However, not everyone was happy with this announcement, with statements relaying the fact that Howard is not the only school with Blacks studying in computer science. This point was countered with the fact that tech companies are looking to diversify their workspaces by going to the source of where a large pool of promising  Black engineers can be easily found: HBCUs.

Despite all of the controversy, Queen Bey’s contribution to all four schools and Google’s partnership is a great move. As influential public figures, their interests in assisting students with their educational and professional pursuits is attention-grabbing. Hopefully, other celebrities and companies will look into utilizing their platforms to invest in the futures of students everywhere.

 

Walker's Legacy University Women

Walker's Legacy University Women

Walker's Legacy University Women is missioned to provide a foundation of entrepreneurial and professional support to help guide the career trajectory for college women of color.

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