Meet the Howard Freshman who Won Travis Scott’s HBCU Tuition Lottery
Houston rapper Travis Scott offered to pay first semester’s tuition for five students who attend historically black colleges or universities through a series of tweets October 7. He shared that his mother went to Grambling State University and his father attended Prairie View A&M University after specifying his funds were exclusively directed to HBCU students.
Two weeks after his announcement, Scott has only selected two students thus far; a freshman from Howard University and another from Morehouse College.
Taylor “Ivy” Nelson, an 18-year-old marketing major from Dallas, Texas, was Scott’s second pick. Although she hasn’t heard from Scott yet about any additional information regarding the financial gift, she remains optimistic and feels “so blessed.” Calling via Zoom in her Dallas home, the Howard freshman walked COSMiC through the day she won Scott’s raffle and her family’s history of HBCUs.
The quotes expressed in this article have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Can you take me back to when you first found out Travis selected you?
I was like “what is this honey? ” I was just in shock and disbelief all evening and sat there for a minute saying “this isn’t real.”
[Wednesday], I was fresh out of my School of Business team meeting and exhausted. Honestly, truly. I had a rough draft due for one of my midterms so I wasn’t even on my phone like that. A friend from Texas Southern University sent me Travis’ tweet claiming he would be paying for five students’ tuition and told me to comment. I made my post real quick and went about my day.
Maybe 30 minutes later, I went to Twitter and saw my post already had 40 likes. Then, I headed to my DMs. Another friend sent me Travis’ quote tweet of my tweet and asked “did you see this?” I hurriedly went to my living room and said “mom you won't believe what is happening right now!”
Did your mom know who Travis Scott was?
The only reason she knew was because when his McDonald’s meal came out, she asked who he was. I couldn’t reference any of his songs so I said the father of Kylie Jenner’s baby. I told her about the quote tweet and sent her the link. She was really excited and sent it to my grandmother immediately.
At this point, I was way too excited to finish my rough draft. I was thinking of writing to my English professor “hey girl, I’m actually going viral on Twitter right now so I won’t be able to turn this in on time.”
How did your family and friends react?
I told my mom as it was happening. I also told my church group and my team as others were finding out. I got called out in GroupMe and received texts from people I went to middle school with. Most of my family now knows and I was getting sweet messages from close friends. A lot of the messages were like “I always knew you were going to go far in life” but in my mind, all I did was make a tweet.
Did you think Travis was going to choose you?
Honestly, I didn't think anything of it. I’m always participating in giveaways and not once have I ever won or been noticed. Once I saw he quoted my tweet, I saw people saying “God I see what you are doing to others.” Normally that’s me. I was shocked to be on the other side of the fence. I didn’t know what to think. Clearly this was a mix up. It couldn’t be me. I was in disbelief all evening.
Does your family have a history of attending HBCUs?
My mom was a Howard Bison and my dad went to Grambling so it just made sense to attend an HBCU. A lot of my close family friends are also people my parents met at college. My godmother also went to Howard. Initially, I was going to Clark Atlanta University. Howard denied me but I went through an appeal process.
Are you an avid Travis fan?
I’m not an avid listener but I do listen to his music. My top Travis songs are “Butterfly Effect,” “Wonderful,” and his feature with SZA on “Love Galore.” He’s been a big part of my childhood. All those TikToks about people blasting “SICKO MODE” when his McDonald’s meal came out was so funny because that really used to be the song we were bumping all the time.
I have yet to see him live because my bank account has yet to prove to me that I can. I wanted to go to ASTROWORLD so bad. Everyone looked like they were having such a blast.