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College Scholarships: Should Wealthy Students Accept Scholarships?

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By Sam, Emory University

College is expensive. There is no way around that -- it takes families years, even decades, to save up enough money to afford sending a child off, gifting them with experience, gifting them with education.

There is one way that makes the college tuition a little more acceptable: a scholarship. Kids compete for them, parents pray for them, and a chip is hauled off of shoulders when they’re received. But what happens when one of the richest celebrity’s sons is the recipient of one?

Justin Combs, P. Diddy’s son, recently received a $54,000 merit-based scholarship to UCLA. So the question is, should he keep it or give it up, enabling it to go to a student with more of a financial need?

The real issue here is that while he doesn’t need it, he deserves it. He worked hard throughout high school, improved his football game, maintained a 3.75 GPA, and everyone is very proud of him.

But on the other hand, in a world where there are so many people who are suffering financially, it doesn’t seem fair that someone who grew up with so much privilege and comfort should be able to take this opportunity away from someone who actually needs it. Because Combs grew up with money, he probably also grew up with the means to afford tutors, trainers as well as other advantages that those lacking financial comfort can’t have. He already had a leg up. So, while no one is chastising him for being wealthy for the way he was raised or for who his father is, I do think he should return the scholarship and instead be proud of himself for what he accomplished. If returning the entire $54,000 is not an option, he should at least return or donate half of it.

I’m honestly not even sure if that’s possible, but taking the full scholarship is not doing anything for anyone. It will not help P. Diddy sleep better knowing he can send his son off to school, because that was never a worry of his, it will not help the economy, it will not be good use of taxpayers’ dollars, but it will potentially hamper another, less fortunate, student’s chance to attend a university.

So while, yes, Combs accomplished an incredible thing -- and he should be very proud of himself -- he now has the opportunity to do something even greater: Give someone the chance to go to college.

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