4 celebrities who will pay for you to go to college

Nicki Minaj is the latest celebrity to lend a hand to struggling college students.
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As college degrees simultaneously become more important and more expensive, many Americans are struggling to keep up. Today, over 44 million Americans hold a total of $1.4 trillion in student loan debt.

Many celebrities have spoken out about the issue of college affordability. But some have actually put their money where their mouths are, and have started programs that help pay to send students to college.

Here's a look at what four celebrities are doing to help students foot the bill for higher education:

Nicki Minaj
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Nicki Minaj

In May, rapper Nicki Minaj tweeted that she would help pay off her followers' student debt in exchange for proof that they were earning A's.

A week later, the rapper proved that she was "No Fraud" by sharing a list of the debts she had already helped pay off. Her list of charitable deeds includes funding summer courses, paying off student debt and even buying some unexpectedly expensive text books.

Most recently, Minaj stated that she intends to turn this practice into an official charity.

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To mark the one-year anniversary of the release of her Peabody-Award-winning album "Lemonade," Beyoncé launched the Formation Scholarship program. The program will provide $25,000 scholarships to four female students studying creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies.

The program recently announced the four winners of the prize. Each of the scholars holds a 3.5 GPA or above and the group possesses a wide range of passions.

Jay Z
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Jay Z

Beyoncé's husband Shawn Carter, also known as Jay Z, created the Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund in 2003. The scholarship offers grants, typically between $1,500 and $2,500, to students with a 2.0 GPA or higher to attend any accredited academic institution.

Seventy-nine percent of Shawn Carter Scholars come from single-parent households, and 59 percent live below the national poverty line. Today, Shawn Carter Scholars attend 100 institutions across the country and can also apply for additional funding to study abroad.

LeBron James
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LeBron James

Through the LeBron James Family Foundation (LJFF), basketball legend LeBron James helps pay for over 1,000 students to attend the University of Akron.

The LJFF begins working with students in the third grade. If these students have maintained a 3.0 GPA by their senior year of high school, they can attend the University of Akron for free.

At an event at Cedar Point Amusement Park in 2015, James said, "These students have big dreams, and I'm happy to do everything I can to help them get there. They're going to have to earn it, but I'm excited to see what these kids can accomplish knowing that college is in their futures."

Don't miss: Here's how much the average American in their 20s has in student debt

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