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MC Law’s Feeder School Scholarship Makes Legal Education More Affordable for HBCU Students

MC Law's HBCU Feeder School Scholarship is helping law students like Aerial Adams serve their communities by becoming attorneys.
MC Law's HBCU Feeder School Scholarship is helping law students like Aerial Adams serve their communities by becoming attorneys.

Jakneceya Womack’s lifelong dream is to help economically challenged residents in the communities surrounding her hometown of Hazlehurst obtain access to equitable representation in the legal system.

“I have been interested in the law since I was a kid,” said Womack, who earned her B.A. in political science with a minor in pre-law from Tougaloo College in 2021. “With my expertise, I want to help those in the communities where I come from have a fair shot in the legal system.”

Aerial Adams grew up in poverty, a condition that fuels the Jackson native’s desire to become a catalyst for change and improve conditions for those who may not be blessed with the advantages many enjoy in life.

“My career goal is simple – to do my best to be a servant of my community,” said Adams, who received her B.A. in strategic, legal, and management communications from Howard University in 2020. “Whether that means continuing to build my nonprofit, collaborating with grassroots organizations, or occupying space in the courtroom.

“Obtaining my law degree gets me one step closer to being the change I want to see in the world, both at a macro and micro level.”

A new scholarship offered by the Mississippi College School of Law promises to help Womack, Adams, and other graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities fulfill their career goals.

The HBCU Feeder School Scholarship for new MC Law students provides full tuition to the top applicant from each HBCU who meets certain qualifications. Additional scholarships may be offered to students meeting MC Law’s general merit-based scholarship eligibility requirements.

Jay Armstrong, director of admissions for MC Law, said the scholarship is intended to help expand representation within the school, which is located in the capital city of Jackson.

“We welcome all viewpoints at MC Law, and we want our law school to be a diverse learning environment to enrich the quality of our education,” Armstrong said. “We noticed a decline in our applicants to our school from HBCU students – both locally and all over the nation.

“We wanted to do something that would help increase HBCU student applications and help us have a broader representation of all undergraduate institutions in our state.”

To be considered, applicants for the MC Law HBCU Feeder School Scholarship must have an LSAT score of at least 152 and a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Recipients are chosen using a “whole person” approach that considers leadership, service, character, and GPA and LSAT scores.

The scholarship covers three years and 90 credit hours, as long as the student remains in the top 50 percent of his or her class.

Armstrong said qualifying students pursuing a degree in any legal specialty are eligible for the scholarship.

“MC Law offers a general legal education,” he said. “We’ve got eight certificate programs, so there are many opportunities for specialization. One of our more notable certificates is the Louisiana Civil Law Certificate, but we also offer certificates in health law, family and juvenile law, business law, solo small practice, and criminal law.”

He said the scholarship is particularly attractive because it is not limited to Mississippi – it is available to graduates of HBCUs nationwide.

“If a candidate from Florida A&M meets the criteria, they will be named the Florida A&M Feeder School Scholar,” Armstrong said. “If a qualified candidate from Alabama State applies, they can be named the Alabama State Feeder School Scholar.

“This scholarship gives each HBCU the ability to have representation on our law school campus.”

He said MC Law has made similar “feeder school” offers in the past – at one point, the school provided scholarships to any school in Mississippi that sent five or more students to the Jackson campus “on a regular basis,” including Alcorn State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi College, Mississippi State University, Tougaloo College, and the University of Mississippi, among others – but school administrators were concerned about increasing its base of HBCU applicants. Armstrong suggested the nationwide focus, and MC Law Dean John Anderson agreed.

“I think this is going to help our overall representation of students from HBCUs,” Armstrong said.

The scholarship is already paying dividends: members of the latest MC Law class include students from four of the state’s five HBCUs.

“I don’t remember us getting that many students from HBCUs in the state in my 15 years at MC Law,” Armstrong said.

Because qualified MC Law applicants are automatically considered, Womack didn’t know about the HBCU Feeder School Scholarship until she was notified by an admissions representative that she had received it. She said the scholarship was a major factor in her decision to attend the Mississippi College School of Law.

“The scholarship has made law school more affordable,” Womack said. “MC makes you feel as if you are home. The people are very welcoming, and everyone with whom I’ve come in contact has been extremely nice and helpful on this journey.”

Adams said she has enjoyed a similar experience.

“The HBCU Feeder School Scholarship alleviates the stress of debt in pursuing my law degree,” she said. “Attending MC Law allows me to stay connected to my community while learning about the laws that govern us and building relationships with future legislators and leaders in the state.

“The sense of community I’ve felt is a huge factor. From the day I visited and sat in on a class to the days I’ve seen students and staff off-campus, I’ve never felt anything but welcomed and encouraged to be part of the MC Law family.”

Armstrong said the initial increase in MC Law applications and the uptick in enrollment from HBCU students since the scholarship was announced means the feeder program is here to stay.

“It definitely has a potential for growth,” he said. “The applicants see that we welcome and value students from all backgrounds. It’s a great program.”

One that is helping students like Womack and Adams realize their vast potential.

“My goal right now is to get through law school,” Womack said. “Once I have successfully conquered that, I have plans to open my own consumer litigation law firm here in the state of Mississippi.”

For Adams, the scholarship helped provide a measure of autonomy to her choice of law schools.

“I would say it was divine intervention, in a way, to have visited and opened myself up to MC Law,” she explained. “It truly tested my ability to decide what was right and not what seemed right for me. Throughout the application cycle, it was not uncommon to hear that I would feel more comfortable as a Black person at other higher-ranked schools. But after assessing my own experience, I decided that MC Law was the best option for me, no matter the perception of others.

“I believe what I’ve gained in choosing MC Law was also choosing my self-determination.”

The deadline to be considered for the HBCU Feeder School Scholarship is Friday, March 1. HBCU Feeder School Scholarship designations will be made by Friday, March 15. Those who apply after the deadline may still be considered for one of MC Law’s merit-based scholarships.

For more information or to apply to MC Law, click here.