Skip to navigationSkip to content
Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Motherhood changes you.
LEMONAIDE

Even longtime college skeptic Beyoncé now acknowledges the power of a college degree

By Amy X. Wang

A year after giving the world her album Lemonade, Beyoncé is giving out student aid.

To celebrate the first anniversary of the groundbreaking visual album, the pop star this week announced four scholarships—the “Foundation Scholar Awards“—intended to encourage young women to pursue their dreams in education. These awards, for an unspecified amount, will be given for the 2017-2018 academic year to undergraduate or graduate women seeking to study music, art, literature, or African-American studies, at Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design, and Spelman College.

While the Formation Scholar Awards fall right in line with Beyoncé’s long-established brand of female empowerment (see tracks: “Run the World,” “Single Ladies,” “Irreplaceable,” “Me, Myself, and I,” “Partition,” “Flawless”), Beyoncé did not go to college herself. And there was a time when Bey suggested that college wasn’t the only way toward success. In 2011, she released the song “Schoolin’ Life,” singing:

And I’m crazy, all day, all night
Who needs a degree when you’re schoolin’ life?
Uh oh, uh oh, whoa oh oh
Uh oh, uh oh, whoa oh oh (schoolin’ life)

What could have prompted Queen B’s change of heart and subsequent act of charity?

She may have realized that America’s young people do need degrees, as economists have pointed out. In the post-recession economy, 99% of new jobs have gone to people who went to college.

It could also have something to do with the fact that she’s about to give birth to not one, but two, post-recession workers—and already has a young daughter.

And college, these days, is really damn expensive.