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Finances Threaten Louisburg College's Future

Posted February 6, 2008

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— Louisburg College in Franklin County is struggling financially and could lose its accreditation. If the college closes, the local economy is bound to take a beating.

The college has been a cornerstone of the Louisburg community for 220 years. The two-year college draws nearly 800 students and employs about 130 people, and those students, faculty and staff bring their business downtown.

Jerry Edwards, assistant baseball coach, has been at the college for three years. This is his last semester though, as he is being laid-off.

“It was definitely a shock. I had a little inclination it might be coming, not really sure,” Edwards said.

Edwards' job is one of several positions the college is cutting.

“We're trying to be very careful about that because we want to do only what's necessary in terms of bringing the economic efficiency we need,” College President Michael Clyburn said.

Louisburg College faces the threat of closing. The college's $15 million in annual revenue exceeds its expenses by more than $500,000, which the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools said is too tight a margin.

SACS recently warned Louisburg College officials that the school's financial stability needs to improve.

“For that to be in danger is heartbreaking,” retired professor Clara Frazier said.

Frazier taught chemistry at Louisburg College for 26 years. She said that for years, the college has not had a "business mindset."

Many folks in Louisburg say the college and community go hand-in-hand. If the college does not rebound financially, it will be a blow to the town.

“It is a tremendous asset, not only because they're a large employer, but they are very vital to our economy,” Louisburg Mayor Pro-Tem Boyd Sturges said.

The college got into financial trouble after borrowing millions of dollars over the course of several years.

Clyburn said applications are up and more students are expected in the fall, which should boost revenue. It's too early to determine, however, how much revenue would exceed expenses.

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  • common_sense_plz Feb 7, 2008

    IF Louisburg ends up closing, the town of Louisburg will have thier own ecomonic problems. I think that they may want to be more active in recruiting students. they need to take a look at other colleges to see what they are offering that is a common draw, that they themselves do not offer. I think this can be fixed, but will be a long term process.

  • Frank Downtown Feb 7, 2008

    Endowments are very important to private colleges. Reputation is a factor, too. They should focus on their sports to advertise for them and growing an endowment. Encoraging corporate investment would be a good idea, too.

  • john283594 Feb 7, 2008

    Well, lets see offer the same two year degree that you can get at any community college for the same tuition that people pay when they go to private four year colleges and yes, you will have trouble...

    Two year degrees may have meant something 200 years ago but today community colleges have that market sewn up. What got us here will not take us there...

  • For-Better-Or-Worse Feb 7, 2008

    They should just move it to Youngsville along with the hospital.

  • baseballman Feb 7, 2008

    I would certainly hope that this can be worked out and the school pull out of this situation. Also, this being a baseball school, letting the assistant baseball coach go does not seem like a very good move. I hope things work out well for Jerry, he is a very fine man as well as coach.

  • anonemoose Feb 7, 2008

    And that he "was not completely truthful in his testimony". His "testimony seemed to be directed toward concealing his own incompetence in handling the Petitioner’s application and conversations surrounding it." And they wonder why they have a Chief, one Campus Police Officer, and one security guard whose application for certification as a police officer was denied left working there. Lots of stuff going on up there. After SACS striped their legs before, that's when they started looking at ability to get federal grants and loans as the primary reason for acceptance. Now look where they are.