PETALING JAYA: Taylor’s University has dismissed claims that it is giving scholarships to social media influencers like YouTube or Instagram personalities following a post on the matter which went viral.
In a statement to FMT, the university said the Taylor’s Talent Scholarship was launched to recognise exceptional talents in various areas of music, drama, and sports among others, as well as social influencers.
“Social influencer in this context does not refer to social media influencers, like most people think, but rather those who champion social objectives and have the power to influence others to follow or join in them.”
The statement came after a Facebook post, purportedly by a Taylor’s student, criticised the university for supposedly giving “famous” social media users scholarships.
The term “influencer” has been used to describe social media personalities with large followings. Many brands now use “influencers” to promote their products through their social media pages, which usually have between several hundred thousand and millions of followers.
Another Facebook user pointed out that under the application form for the scholarship, Taylor’s University had listed “YouTuber” as an example of a social influencer.
But the university said the scholarship form on the website may have suggested an incorrect example of a social influencer.
“To clear the confusion and for future reference, we are changing the term ‘social influencer’ to ‘social advocate’,” it said, adding that the university approached each application on a case by case basis.
Taylor’s University said aside from being a social advocate, applicants must also perform well academically, such as attaining a minimum 2.70 GPA in three subjects for STPM applicants or 2.70 CGPA for foundation and diploma applicants.
“So far, we only have one recipient who qualifies as a social influencer: Daniel Devan, who started a social initiative called ‘Where Holistic Experiences Empower’ (WHEE) in 2013.”
According to reports, WHEE recruits youths to teach English to homestay hosts and community guides in Bario, Sarawak, to better promote eco-tourism.
“Daniel is on a full scholarship to continue his studies in medicine,” the university said.
“We would like to have more students who are passionate about helping others or improving the life of a community like Daniel in our university.”