WACO, Texas (Fox 44) — McLennan Community College has a loan forgiveness program in place that encourages students to continue their education and earn their credentials.

The Highlander Restart Program helps people return to college by financially assisting former MCC students who have debt and want to re-enroll.

“What we’ve tried to do is to open the door and say we want you to come back,” MCC director of admissions and recruitment Karen Clark said. “We’re going to work with you. It’s important for our students.”

The student must pay his or her loans down to $500, and MCC will pay the rest.

“I think what makes it successful is the part that it’s really a partnership with the students,” Clark said. “They’re have a responsibility in it too in paying down to their $500 balance. But for some, that’s not very much money. And for some, it’s a lot of money.”

Clark says everyone deserves a second chance.

“You know, it’s been a long time since they were students here, and they’ve had things change in their lives, and so even though they experienced failure in their classes or years ago, they’re in a different place now, and they’re in a place where they can be successful if they’re given a chance,” Clark said.

In all, 200 students have enrolled, and 15 students have completed the program.

“That’s 15 people that wouldn’t have had a degree,” Clarks said.

MCC gives the $500 once the certificate or degree is complete.

“That was important for us in the process of making sure that students didn’t just come back, but they were also focused on completion,” Clark said.

Students must also complete financial literacy training and be matched with one of the college’s success coaches to help guide them through to graduation.

If you’re interested in enrolling in the program, click here. To learn more, click here.