LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Some incoming University of Southern California students from the Los Angeles area may already feel like part of the Trojan family. They've worked hard for seven years to get into the university, with all expenses paid.
They participated in USC's Neighborhood Academic Initiative, a college-access program for students who live in the low-income neighborhoods surrounding the university's campuses in East and South Los Angeles.
The program helps prepare students for college, whether USC or elsewhere, with after-school tutoring and Saturday morning classes. Parents are also involved, with a biweekly program teaching them how to help their children with academics and maintain a healthy home environment.
Students who go through the full program from sixth grade to high school graduation are eligible for a full scholarship to USC if they meet the school's admission requirements.
"It feels like a relief and an accomplishment," said NAI student Millie Sanchez, who is attending USC in the fall.
Nearly 1,000 students have graduated through the program since 1997. Of those, 398 were accepted to USC. This year alone, 22 were admitted to USC with full rides.
Other NAI students have been accepted to NYU, Cal Berkeley, and UCLA this fall.