AKRON, Ohio — The LeBron James Family Foundation and Kent State University are partners in the effort to make the dream of a college education a reality.

  • KSU will give eligible I PROMISE students 4 years of free tuition and one year of room and board
  • Students who are typically targeted for the I PROMISE program are underperforming in Akron Public Schools
  • More than 1,400 students are in the I PROMISE program

Students in the foundation's I PROMISE network who choose to apply to Kent State University and meet the admissions requirements, will receive free tuition for all four years of college and free room and board for one year.

More than 190 students received the offer — all of whom are juniors in high school.

"So what we're able to bring to the table is financial aid, that last dollar of what the gap would be between any of state financial aid, we're able to pull in the gap and then we'll use scholarship money for room and board," said Melody Tankersley, interim senior vice president and provost, Kent State University.

The LeBron James Family Foundation says students who are typically targeted for the IPROMISE program are underperforming in Akron Public Schools. Statistically, a portion of these students would drop out and never complete high school without any intervention or support.

I PROMISE offers tutoring and mentoring, providing a clear pathway to college, which means unlocking life-changing opportunities that otherwise may not have been possible.

"With a lot of our students, they face a lot of different barriers that might prevent them from even getting to the application process. It gives them the opportunity to decide if college is the pathway for them and it just gives them a new world to enter into, not have to think about how they're gonna afford going to college," said Toni Montgomery, LeBron James Family Foundation.

To remain eligible for the free tuition, every year students have to be in good academic standing, complete a minimum number of credit hours and take part in community service.

With more than 1,400 other students in the I PROMISE network, the hope is to continue providing free tuition for every student that graduates.

"I think for us, it's amazing to be able to sit in this position and give them the opportunity," said Montgomery.

"All of our students need something, they all don't need the same thing, we know this group of students need access, number one, they need to get here. Our goal is to keep it going, this is part of our commitment to the community," said Tankersley.