WESTWOOD (CBS) — With news of skyrocketing tuition and students struggling under massive school loans, word that a privileged youth is getting a free ride to UCLA has sparked a controversy.
On Tuesday, it was learned that a football scholarship was granted to the son of music mogul Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs, who is reportedly worth half a billion dollars.
Justin Combs, a cornerback, has scored a free ride to UCLA on a football scholarship worth tens of thousands of dollars.
“I’m solidly committed to UCLA and excited to play for coach Mora,” Combs said.
But with the cost of tuition tripling at the coveted U.C. school over the past ten years, some students are asking whether the son of someone worth so much, who got a six-figure car for his sixteenth birthday, should get a $54,000 scholarship.
“UCLA’s athletic department needs to consider the fact that perhaps there is another athlete on the football team, who could perhaps really use this scholarship,” said UCLA student Neshemah Keetin.
Keetin has had to rely on loans and financial aid to put herself through the school. She said that she wonders whether the university should put strict standards in place for which families can get scholarships.
“Just being considerate that our economy, students are trying to get to college through athletics and academics as well,” Keetin said.
Combs graduated from a New York prep school with a 3.75 GPA. His quick moves caught recruiters eyes.
“He had the grades, he has obviously put in the effort, regardless of who his dad is. He could get in. He definitely earned it, so I’m looking forward to seeing him next year,” said student Ben Barokh.
UCLA declined an on-camera interview, but stressed their robust financial aid program, noting that UCLA enrolls more low-income grant recipients than the entire Ivy League combined. They went on to say that their 285 athletic scholarships are separate, like other Division 1 schools.
“Unlike need-based scholarships, athletic scholarships are awarded to students strictly on the basis of their athletic and academic ability, and not on a student’s financial need. Athletic scholarships, such as those awarded to football or basketball players, do not rely on state funds,” said UCLA spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez in a statement.
We reached out to Sean Comb’s publicist, but our request for comment was not returned.