LeBron James: pretty good basketball player, pretty good guy.
On Thursday, LeBron and University of Akron president Scott Scarborough made a joint announcement that James’ LeBron James Foundation and the University of Akron are teaming up to try to put as many as 2,300 students through UA on four-year scholarships.
“These students have big dreams, and I’m happy to do everything I can to help them get there,” James said at the announcement. “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.”
The scholarships will apply only to qualified students. Though the qualifications haven’t been decided, according to Scarborough, there will be grade-point average, attendance, and other standards that students have to meet.
According to Paula Schleis of the Akron Beacon Journal, in each of the last four years, the LeBron James Foundation has selected about 300 third-graders to enter James’ Wheels for Education program. When they enter middle school, they get transferred to the foundation’s Akron I PROMISE Network, where they remain through high school. About 1,100 of the kids currently in these programs will be eligible for the four-year scholarship, with about 1,200 additional kids expected to be added in the next four years.
Scarborough said UA will work on raising funds to cover tuition and general fees for the first group of students, who will graduate high school in 2021. If they fail to come up with the money, Scarborough said they will at least prioritise these students for their financial-aid program.
All in all, this adds up to quite a bit of money just for the 1,100 kids already in the programs:
James added at the announcement:
“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. 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.”
James famously skipped college and went right to the NBA. For thousands of kids in Akron, Ohio, who don’t have once-in-a-generation athletic talent, James is helping open the door to greater opportunities.
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