LeBron James announced a partnership with the University of Akron and financial firm JP Morgan Chase on Thursday to provide full college scholarships to hundreds of at-risk children from the basketball superstar's Ohio hometown, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The offer of a four-year free ride potentially applies to about 1,000 students at Akron elementary and middle schools now involved in mentorship programs run by the Cleveland Cavaliers forward's family charity and could be extended to hundreds more who join in the future.
Mr. James, who skipped college to enter the NBA out of high school, has made a philanthropic priority of raising graduation rates in his native Akron. The university will finance the scholarships, amounting to about $9,500 a year, with the first recipients enrolling in 2021. JP Morgan will develop systems to collect and measure criteria students must meet to qualify for the financial aid. The school is rechristening its College of Education for the LeBron James Family Foundation.