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Jay Z caught some flack from civil rights activist and actor Harry Belafonte for not using his wealth and influence to aid in social issues. It appears that Hov has indeed used his fortune for good by giving away over a $1 million in college scholarships for students since starting his foundation and has assisted students in studying abroad.

Website Diverse Education writes that 21-year-old behavioral neuroscience major Laquisha Springer says that her time at Connecticut College has been bolstered by spending a semester earlier this year at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen. Because of Jay Z’s charitable organization, Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation, in collaboration with the U.S. State Department, Springer and three other students were able to travel and study in various parts of the world.

From Diverse Education:

Springer was one of four students to receive one of the Shawn Carter Foundation-Gilman International Scholarships through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The Institute of International Education, or IIE, administered the scholarships in a one-year pilot partnership that was announced earlier this year but has generated surprisingly little publicity since.

In a society where philanthropic support for socioeconomically disadvantaged students in higher education is often seen as the province of rich White men, the Jay Z study abroad scholarships stand out as a refreshing departure from that norm.

Springer praised Jay Z’s program in a chat with Diverse.“It makes me proud, you know, to know that someone who is relatively close to my age and someone I can relate to who’s had to struggle to get to where he is, that he’s investing in my future,” she said.

Since its inception, the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation has awarded $1.3 million in scholarships. Last year, 188 students benefited from the Foundation’s support as well.

Springer, who recognized Jay Z’s massive wealth, had a few words for critics who think he’s not investing enough.

“So I’m assuming people, when they say he’s not doing enough, they’re expecting him to literally help the world,” Springer said. “But for me, personally at least, his foundation has helped me out at lot since I’ve been a scholar.”

Photo: Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation