An inner-city challenge: get good grades and be good, and get free tuition

Sometimes, the economic news out there isn't all bad.

Earlier this week, The Chicago Sun Times reported that 22 middle school students at Roosevelt Middle School in Bellwood, a community deep in urban Chicago, have been offered the challenge of a lifetime. If they can get A's and B's in all of their grades in middle and high school, and stay out of trouble, they'll be given free tuition to attend Concordia University in River Forest, one of the most tony and affluent locations in Chicago.

It's a program sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, although kudos for Concordia for agreeing to offer a significant discount to the students if they succeed in this challenge. Tuition, after all, is $30,000 a year -- now. It'll likely be a bit higher in 2015 when these sixth-graders graduate.

(And I hate to be snarky, but given the state of the banking industry, my first thought when I read about this was: What happens to this program if Fifth Third isn't around in 2015? But let's not go there.)