Jay-Z may be known for his lyrical prowess and ability to wax poetic about everything from growing up in Brooklyn to ruling boardrooms in Manhattan, but the former hustler also wants to help others achieve their dreams.

Through the Shawn Carter Foundation, Jigga wants to help young people pursue higher education and live a better life.

On the foundation’s website, Jay explains why he decided to get involved:

“Sometimes, people just need the opportunity to be great. We created the scholarship foundation to be an opening of a door; the first step in a new direction. No one should be cheated out a chance at success just because they can’t continue their education. I want to do my part so anyone that really wants it has a chance to achieve their dream.”

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To help students, the Shawn Carter Foundation provides grants of $1500 to $2500 to “every student who qualifies and reapplies yearly.” Additionally, students who qualify are required to “give back” to their community through participating in service projects and mentoring.

Because he knows how difficult it is when you come from an impoverished background, the Shawn Carter Foundation primarily helps low-income students.

According to the foundation’s stats:

• 66% come from single parent households
• 64% come from households earning $40,000 or less
• 34% represent households at the federal poverty level
• 3.86 is the average household size
• 34 is the number of US states represented in the applicant pool

To qualify, applicants must “be a high school senior, college student, and/or between the ages of 18-25, pursuing studies at a vocational or trade school. All applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5, be a US Citizen and complete the on-line application no later than the published deadline date, which is May 15, 2012.”

So get those applications in folk!

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