Neighborhood Academic Initiative scholars Jessica Alcazar and Tristan Baizar talk with Thomas S. Sayles, senior vice president for University Relations during the NAI Annual Gala and Awards Ceremony on May 9. Photo by Gus Ruelas

The popular NAI program has expanded to include more than 100 sixth graders at Murchison and El Sereno elementary schools, located near the university’s Health Sciences Campus in Boyle Heights. NAI eventually will serve about 600 students from sixth to 12th grade.

The initiative is an intensive, seven-year pre-college program to help low-income neighborhood students from the Los Angeles Unifed School District get ready for admission to a university. In the 15 years since the first students enrolled, NAI has graduated 99 percent of its students, with 83 percent enrolling as freshmen in four-year colleges. Those who are accepted to USC receive a full scholarship.

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