NOTE: Information has been added to this story from LOSFA. Please see below.
A UL student credits hard work, but also the generosity of a high-profile stranger, for getting him across the graduation stage.
Graduating from college is a milestone Artavion Cook says was long overdue, and thanks to his favorite artist it became reality.
When TOPS was cut from state funding in 2018, Artvation Cook found himself in a dilemma. Worried about paying bills, he found help on social media. It wasn't until he saw a tweet from rapper Nicki Minaj asking her fans if they needed help covering tuition that his luck would change.
“I tweeted mine and she saw it. She quoted it and said send me the info, I’ll pay it. About a week later, her assistant messaged me from her account and in the next few days my balance was zero. It really meant a lot to me especially to my mom,” Cook explained.
Once TOPS funding was restored, Cook was able to pay tuition on his own, but says he'll never forget Minaj and her generosity as he moves on to the next chapter.
"Me and my friends are supposed to start studying for the MCAT next week and hopefully I score well, get accepted into a medical school that will give me a big scholarship so I don't have to worry about taking out all those loans."
Cook plans to start applying for medical school next summer.
NOTE: After this story ran, the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance contacted us about the timing of TOPS cuts. Here's what they tell us:
"The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) oversees the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS). The cut that the student is referring to actually happened in 2016-2017. The Fall 2016 semester TOPS award was impacted slightly and students saw a larger cut in the Spring 2017 tuition payment," said Tyana Daquano, LOSFA Public Information Officer.
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