Partnership offers free legal services for MCC students

McLennan Community College is teaming up with Greater Waco Legal Services to provide free legal counsel on campus for students.

The partnership, part of MCC’s Title V Grant Project, is meant to increase student success by strengthening supports for low-income students and minority students. From 1 to 5 p.m. every Thursday at the Student Life Center, attorneys will do intakes and conduct free consultations. Greater Waco Legal Services founder Kent McKeever said if someone needs further representation, the firm will either offer it directly or connect students to other options.

The nearly $3 million grant from the Hispanic-Serving Institution Program of the U.S. Department of Education was awarded to MCC in 2020 and is broken down into about $600,000 per year for five years. The grant program is meant to boost MCC’s ability to create successful outcomes for Hispanic and low-income students. About 34% of MCC students are Hispanic, and about 70% of all MCC students qualify for financial aid.

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MCC’s Title V project includes a few goals for first-time college students:

Increasing the first-year course completion rate to 85%

Bringing the percentage of students who return for a second year, the persistence rate, to 70%

Raising the graduation rate from 20% to 30%

And increasing transfer rates to four-year schools from 13% to 20%.

“Our goals are to enhance the first-year experience and increase our students’ sense of belonging,” Title V Grant Director Paula Unger said in a press release. “When students have unrelated legal issues, they will have a harder time focusing on their education. We want this new partnership to help alleviate some of that burden.”

McKeever said in providing more direct access to affordable legal services for students the partnership is meant to ease some stress and help students achieve their

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