LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Kent State University is offering free tuition to the inaugural class of the LeBron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School. Representatives from the university surprised the 11th-grade class with free tuition and one year of free room and meal plan during a visit Wednesday.

The free tuition program was born out of an existing partnership between Kent State and the LeBron James Family Foundation in which I Promise that offers summer enrichment college preparation programs for students, according to a press release from Kent State. This partnership will continue as well.

“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. “Kent State looks forward to the time when our campus is teeming with I PROMISE students.”

The 193-student class will be eligible for free tuition beginning with the 2021-22 academic year. To be eligible for free tuition, the students must be admitted to Kent State, and apply for standard financial aid services. Kent State will cover the remaining tuition costs. Students must remain in good academic standing and take part in required community service hours in order to remain eligible.

The university also has plans to begin a fundraising effort that will help cover other expenses for the students, including the remaining three years of room and board, books and other opportunities like study abroad.

James opened the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio through the LeBron James Family Foundation in July 2018 in partnership with Akron Public Schools. The school’s mission is to uplift at-risk students in the community by providing them access to education and supportive resources. The school provides free tuition, uniforms, transportation, and meals to students, as well as GED and job placement services to parents. The I Promise School also partners with the University of Akron to offer free tuition to all graduating students.


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