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A fan jokingly asked Nicki Minaj to pay his tuition. Her response was A+.

One fan's joke sparked some wonderfully unexpected generosity.

A fan jokingly asked Nicki Minaj to pay his tuition. Her response was A+.

"Well you wanna pay for my tuition?" a fan jokingly asked rapper Nicki Minaj on Twitter.

Minaj was promoting a contest on Twitter for a fan to join her at the Billboard Music Awards, and cheekily announcing that she has enough money to fly any fan from any country to the show, when she was hit with the unexpected question.

While the original tweet was about attending the Billboard Music Awards, Minaj's Twitter contest quickly Β morphed into something entirely different.

Any fan who could show her they were getting straight As, Minaj would pay their tuition, as long as she could verify it with their school. "Who wants to join THAT contest?!?!" she tweeted. "Dead serious."


Hundreds of requests rolled quickly rolled in, and the 10-time Grammy nominee selected more than a dozen lucky scholars to help.

TMZ was able to confirm reports that at least a few of the payments had already been made. While the request was for students with straight As, it looks like Minaj offered a little leeway there, picking up the tab for some prospective students and others doing their best.

People on Twitter were freaking out over Minaj's outpouring of generosity, and the whole thread was one big gratitude fest.

The plight of student debt in the U.S. is no joke, and that's what makes Minaj's generosity so freakin' goddess-like.

The average student loan debt in the U.S. is more than $30,000 per borrower for 2015 graduates, and 68% of students exit school carrying a loan balance.

Obviously, "find a wealthy celebrity and ask for help" isn't the most reliable way out of debt, but it's awesome to see people in positions of wealth and power using those resources to help others.

Minaj did her student loan giveaway, Chrissy Teigen recently paid off a fan's tuition to beauty school, and Chance the Rapper cut a $1 million check to help floundering Chicago public schools. Celebrities are people too, and some of them really know how to be awesomely generous and empathetic people.

GIF from "Freedom," via Nicki Minaj/YouTube.

Most of us don't have Nicki Minaj-type money laying around, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't look for ways to help others. You don't need to be a multimillionaire to make a difference in someone's life (though it sure helps). You just need to have a warm heart and an open mind.

Though Minaj's giveaway came to a close early Sunday morning, she hinted that she might be back some time in the next couple of months for an encore.

If you're one of the tens of millions of Americans with outstanding student loan debt, you might want to give her a follow. Just saying.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad β€” her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany β€” but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway β€” not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts β€” and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Photo by Tod Perry

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