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    7-Eleven charity to benefit 16- to 24-year-old students.

    DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. yesterday said it plans to increase educational opportunities for student by establishing a new public charity.

    The education foundation, called "Education is Freedom" is designed to help public high school students and others obtain college degrees or training to secure a better job and quality of life.

    "This new foundation is about creating options and opening doors," said 7-Eleven president and CEO Jim Keyes, whose idea it was to remove economic obstacles to higher education for those 16 to 24 years old. "Many young people believe that attending college might not be possible for them. At 7-Eleven, we know that hard work can create opportunities, and that 'opportunity' is possible through the scholarships and grants Education is Freedom will provide."

    The new charity will be launched July 11 in New York City as part of 7-Eleven's celebration of its 75th anniversary.

    Education is Freedom will offer both scholarship and grants programs. Scholarships will range from $1,500 to $5,000 to cover tuition, fees and books and will be awarded in time for the 2003-2004 school year. Starting in 2004, grants will be made to community and educational institutions that provide job-training programs.

    Beneficiaries include young people who don't qualify for assistance programs but who have demonstrated their hard work by maintaining a B average in their high school or college course work.

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