"As a kid growing up in the inner city ... you don't really think past high school. You don't really know your future." Those were the words of LeBron James in Sandusky, Ohio, yesterday as he announced how he plans to change that outcome: by offering full scholarships to at-risk Akron kids to attend the University of Akron, Cleveland.com reports. Thanks to a partnership between the basketball star's LeBron James Family Foundation, the university, and JPMorgan Chase, any child who graduates from Akron public schools from 2021 to 2029, sticks with the foundation's mentorship program from third grade through graduation, and meets certain testing, attendance, and community service requirements will receive a free ride to the college, right now worth about $9,500 per year.
"We're giving you guys free scholarships," James said after he made the announcement at a Cedar Point gathering of mostly at-risk local kids and their families. "Do you guys know how much money [that's worth]? This means so much to me, so much to these kids." With around 1,100 kids currently in James' program, plus an estimated 1,200 to be added over the next four years, as many as 2,300 kids could eventually nab one of these scholarships, the Akron Beacon Journal notes. JPMorgan Chase's role: to develop a database that will collect and measure student data to make sure they fulfill all needed criteria. (LeBron isn't just making his mark on education—he's also taking on Tinseltown.)