Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James continues to give back to the city that raised him by promising to pay for the college tuition of 1,100 children.
All of the 1,100 students are in James’ "I Promise" program — ranging from third to seventh graders in his hometown of Akron, Ohio — and they must complete the program and meet attendance and grade requirements to receive the college tuition. The NBA star will start covering tuition costs in 2021 — when the students currently in seventh grade are expected to graduate high school.
“I think it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of, this is very special to me,” he said in a statement to ESPN. “As a kid growing up in the inner city and as an African-American kid, you don’t really think past high school because it’s not possible or your family can’t support you. For us to be able to do something like this … it means so much.”
A year’s tuition at the University of Akron is approximately $9,500. James is expected to shell out close to $42 million — approximately twice his yearly salary from the Cavs — to cover the tuition.
As part of the announcement, the University of Akron renamed its education school the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education.
"What LeBron's doing is going to have a large impact on these kids' lives," University of Akron president Scott Scarborough said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. "It's an easy decision for us, to take this opportunity to work with a hometown hero."