Sean “Diddy” Combs’ estimated worth is around $475 million. So you could see why some people were upset when it was announced UCLA had given his son, Justin, a $54,000 athletic scholarship to play for the Bruins.
“Should P. Diddy’s son return $54,000 college scholarship?” a CNN segment asked.
Probably not. Rich people don’t stay rich by throwing money away. Unless it’s for good publicity.
The argument is whether or not a multimillionaire’s son should get a free ride to a school that’s been struggling with budget cuts and where student tuition and fees have tripled in the last 10 years. University spokesman Ricardo Vazquez thinks so. Vazquez adds that taxpayers shouldn’t worry because the scholarship money doesn’t come from government funds.
Vazquez said UCLA has a “robust financial aid program,” and said the money used for merit-based athletic scholarships was “entirely funded by Athletic Department ticket sales, corporate partnerships, media contracts and private donations” and “do not rely on state funds.”
The money used for Combs’ scholarship wouldn’t affect need-based scholarships awarded to other students, he said.
“There is a big separation between financial aid based on need and how that’s funded and how athletic scholarships are funded and awarded to students,” Vazquez said.
Combs’ scholarship is one of about 285 the university awards to student athletes each year, Vazquez said, and will be used to pay tuition and fees along with room and board.
“Unlike need-based scholarships, athletic scholarships are awarded to students strictly on the basis of their athletic and academic ability, and not on a student’s financial need,” Vazquez said in a statement.
A recent alumnus of New Rochelle Iona Prep in New York — who reportedly graduated with a 3.75 GPA — the 5-foot-9, 170-pound defensive back was also offered scholarships by Illinois, Virginia and Wyoming. Combs announced in November he would attend UCLA.
Many Bruins fans are welcoming Justin saying he doesn’t need to give the money back because he earned it. Which may be entirely true. But it’s sort of like a big company being given a million dollar contract over a smaller company that could do just as good a job.
On the other hand, it’s not fair to punish the kid by taking his scholarship away just because he’s rich and got a $300,000 Maybach for his 16th birthday. But it’s definitely not going to stop a poor college student waist-deep in loans from scrawling “Jerk Face!” on his dorm room door.