NBA star LeBron James is continuing to use his Ohio-based I Promise School as a vessel to empower underprivileged youth and their families. According to CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Laker recently announced the school’s entire inaugural graduating class will receive full-ride scholarships to Kent State University.
The initiative is a collaborative effort between the LeBron James Family Foundation and the institution. The group of students—which includes nearly 200 high school juniors—learned about the news while visiting the university on Wednesday. Aside from having their tuition covered, the institution will also offer students who decide to further their education at Kent State free room and board for a year. Eligibility for the scholarship requires students to earn good grades and complete community service and volunteer hours.
James says this initiative is all about leveling the playing field for youth when it comes to access to higher education. “We have so many options, and I just know that so many kids in my community just don’t have many options,” he said in a statement. “For me to be able to be in a position where I can give these kids options to decide what they want to do with their future, it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done.”
Melody Tankersley, Kent State University’s Interim Senior Vice President and Provost, believes the effort will be instrumental in helping youth from Akron shape their futures. “We are so pleased that Kent State will become the next step in the educational journey of these amazing young people, and so happy that we can start them on their way to exciting careers and lives full of inspiration,” she said.
This isn’t the first time the I Promise School has teamed up with a collegiate institution to create educational opportunities. The University of Akron pledged to cover tuition costs for students who excel academically.