NBA superstar LeBron James is giving back to the youth from his hometown who, like himself, had a tough upbringing. He is partnering with the University of Akron (UA) to give students a chance to attend the school free of charge.
James sent out a tweet Thursday announcing that every student who competes his I Promise foundation program will “go to college for FREE!” The new scholarship will cover the cost of students’ tuition and UA’s $9,500 per year service fee for four years. As many as 2,300 students are expected to benefit from the opportunity, according to Akron Beacon Journal.
The scholarship is a testament to the Akron native’s vow to never forget where he came from.
“It’s the reason I do what I do,” James said Thursday at an event he hosted for students at Cedar Point Amusement Park. “These students have big dreams, and I’m happy to do everything I can to help them get there. They’re going to have to earn it, but I’m excited to see what these kids can accomplish knowing that college is in their futures.”
UA and the LeBron James Family Foundation are still determining the criteria students will need to meet in order to receive the scholarship, but so far, it is clear that eligible students will need to graduate high school within the Akron public school system, meet standardized testing requirements, and complete community service hours.
“It means so much because, as a kid growing up in the inner city and a lot of African-American kids, you don’t really think past high school,” said James, who missed college to play in the NBA. “You don’t really know your future. You hear high school all the time, and you graduate high school, and then you never think past that because either it’s not possible or your family’s not financially stable to even be able to support a kid going to college.”