LeBron James has just won the NBA Championship and it is safe to say that's pretty life-changing for him. Now, he's changing the lives of 1,100 disadvantaged kids from Akron, Ohio, by giving them the chance to go to college for free.
The NBA superstar has teamed up with the University of Akron to give four-year scholarships to qualifying students in LeBron's "I Promise" program. The scholarships will cover tuition and the university's general fee (currently $9,500 a year). That is a donation of $41.8 million, at the university's current rates.
The University of Akron and the LeBron James Family Foundation are in the process of setting the criteria for the scholarships. Students will have to graduate from a public high school in Akron, achieve standard testing requirements, and perform community service. Other details are still being finalized.
This amazing program is an example of how LeBron has committed to the community of Akron, where he grew up – in a single parent home.
"It's the reason I do what I do," said LeBron. "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."
Over the past several months, LeBron and members of his foundation met with university President Dr. Scott Scarborough to develop a program with long-term impact on the community and on the youth of the community. Their goal was to inspire kids to reach their potential.
The scholarship program and the money it will bring in was much needed by the University of Akron. The school had recently announced $40 million in budget cuts due to financial troubles. The baseball team is a victim of those cuts.
Akron is renaming its education department the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education. The first group of students eligible for LeBron's scholarships will graduate in 2021.