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Louisburg College Fights To Survive Through Declining Enrollment

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LOUISBURG, N.C. — A local college is fighting to survive. Enrollment is shrinking at

Louisburg College

. The entire student body is smaller than at most high schools, but officials hope to turn things around.

Anthony Hearn said he came to Louisburg College because it is a small college.

"When you go to a smaller campus, you have a better one-on-one. You know everybody," he said.

There are only 380 students enrolled at Louisburg College, 100 fewer than what were expected this Fall.

"Almost all these persons when contacted by telephone as to why they didn't come said that it was the current state of the economy," said Dr. Reginald Ponder, president of Louisburg College.

Many students are attending more affordable state-funded community colleges, where enrollment is up 47 percent. Many 2-year colleges in the state have changed to 4-year programs, but Louisburg College hopes to stay true to its 215-year mission by offering services others do not.

Hearn, who has dyslexia, is part of the school's Learning Partners Program, which provides tutors and counseling.

"It's helping me as far as math-wise and English and other areas that I had trouble in," Hearn said.

"We're actually the only college in the Southeast that provides a program for students that have learning disabilities," said Regina Burger, director of the Learning Partners Program.

The school plans to expand on its strengths, even offering more athletic programs.

"It's a dying breed, but we think it is an important mission and we're trying to fulfill that mission," Ponder said.

Louisburg College hopes to raise $18 million in 5 years to provide scholarships.