Nice ride for Diddy's kid.
Of course there's something more than faintly ridiculous about a student receiving a full ride at a university that, for all four years combined, costs considerably less than the $360,000 car the student got for his 16th birthday.
But when colleges give merit scholarships, a rich kid -- say, the son of rap star Sean (Diddy) Combs -- has just as much right to earn one as a poor kid.
UCLA officials have made much of the fact that the $54,000-a-year football scholarship to Justin Combs comes from private funds, not from taxpayers' wallets. But that's not the point.
If UCLA were handing out publicly funded merit awards based solely on students' academic brilliance, Bill Gates' kids should be as eligible as those of a minimum-wage worker. That's the difference between a scholarship based on merit and one based on need.
As long as the role of merit scholarships continues to grow, the public can expect many more cases of well-heeled families receiving college grants they don't need, even as increasing numbers of students have to put themselves into crushing debt for a chance to earn a degree.
Assuming that Combs deserved the award -- that he received it for his accomplishments and not because of his dad's fame or the possibility of big donations down the line -- he can hold onto his scholarship with pride.
The wisdom of bringing a $360,000 car to the Westwood neighborhood, which is home to UCLA and is notorious for its shortage of parking, is another matter entirely.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.