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College graduate credits Nicki Minaj's generosity for getting him through college

Posted at 11:36 AM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 13:36:20-05

A University of Louisiana at Lafayette 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 rapper Nicki Minaj, it became reality.

In 2018, Louisiana cut funding for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), a college scholarship program that offers reduced tuition for Louisiana residents who attend in-state public schools. Worried about paying bills, Cook 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 said.

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 (Medical College Admission Test) 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 said.

Cook plans to start applying for medical school next summer.

This story was originally published by Eman Boyd on KATC in Lafayette, Louisiana.