The parents of I Promise students were watching from another room as the students looked under their chairs. They were visiting the Kent State campus in Ohio, and they burst into tears as their kids got the news: 193 high school juniors received scholarships to Kent State University in Ohio because of the LeBron James Family Foundation.
In 2018, James opened the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, for at-risk children in grades one through eight. The school deploys a STEM-based curriculum, mentoring, college and career preparation, and wrap-around family support.
James has a great relationship with Kent State which is what made the scholarships possible for the kids. I Promise students attend summer enrichment college preparation programs at the university.
“We are so pleased to take our partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation to this next level and welcome these students fully into the Kent State family,” Kent State President Todd Diacon said in a press release. “Kent State looks forward to the time when our campus is teeming with I Promise students.”
The students will receive one year of free room and meal plans, along with four years of free tuition. Kent State is starting a fund-raising program to extend the scholarships to include room and board for the other three years.
To remain eligible for the free tuition each year, the students must remain in good academic standing, must complete a minimum number of credit hours annually and must take part in a required number of community service or volunteer hours.
Part of the free tuition program may include work-study jobs on campus, which will give the students a true “sweat equity” stake in their education. The free tuition guarantee includes no loans that would have to be repaid.
“The I Promise program is built on the ‘earned, not given’ philosophy. We are so excited that our students that have worked incredibly hard have earned even more life-changing opportunities to grow and excel,” said Michele Campbell, executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation. “We are so thankful to the entire Kent State family for believing in our students and providing exactly the type of programming and support they need to be successful not only in school but in life.”