Nicki Minaj
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Nicki Minaj has just promised to pay $30,000 in student debt for her followers

...but should she really have to?

So, something pretty crazy happened on Twitter last night.

After Nicki Minaj tweeted out that she had enough money to fly fans from anywhere in the world to the BBMAs, one cheeky member of her Kingdom fanbase asked if she had enough to pay off their college tuition too. She said yes - and ended up promising to spend over $30,000 on her fans' loans, debts, and equipment.

Well That Escalated Quickly

Here's the story:

Nicky Minaj is organizing a competition on her Twitter feed together with musical.ly, an app for making and sharing videos on social media. The deal is: make your own music video for her latest hit, "Regret In Your Tears", and you might win a) a ticket to the BBMAs or b) some time in the Studio with Nicki herself, hanging out and listening to unreleased music.

 

 

The winner gets flown out to the awards. One fan asked whether this was a US-only offer, and Nicki said no - "Ya muva makes enough money to fly members of #TheKingdom out from ANY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!!! 😜😘🎀😍💋"

 

...which prompted one cheeky fan to suggest that if she's got so much money, she may as well pay for their tuition:

 

...to everyone's surprise, she rose to the challenge:

 

And suddenly, everyone wanted in. People tweeted Nicki from all over the world, asking her to pay off their debts, fund their fees, and buy them equipment they needed to take their courses. By the end of the night, she'd said yes to requests costing her a total of $30,342.29.

 

At least one fan has already received their money, and it looks like Nicki's serious about following up on the rest of her promises too - she even said she'd do a few more in a month or two "if she had enough money left."

Obviously, this is pretty awesome. "I never thought she would answer me, let alone help me," said one fan we spoke to, Thomas Ward. He's about to study Games Development but couldn't afford the Wacom Cintiq he needed, so Nicki said she'd buy it for him. "She truly is the generous queen, a beautiful soul!"

But should it really be necessary? Student debt is a seriously huge problem in the US. 44 million Americans owe a total of 1.4 trillion dollars, breaking down to an average payment of £351 a month for as long as it takes to pay their debts, or until it just gets written off. It's no better in other parts of the world - it's expected that about 70 per cent of students who left university in the UK last year will never be able to repay their student loans.

"Honestly, it says a lot about educational funding," Thomas said. "People shouldn't have to rely on strangers to help them pay their bills."

Unfortunately, at the moment they definitely do - wealthy individuals and organizations donated a total of $40 billion to universities in the US in 2015, compared to $65 billion in funding from the government. That's a pretty chunky amount coming from 'strangers' - and even with all that, student debt is still ridiculously high.

Nicki's just lowered that balance by $30,000, and we're willing to bet her fans are pretty grateful. But it'd take a lot more Nickis (or a more sustainable funding system for education) to bring student debt down to a number that doesn't give us all a headache.

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