Local News

Finances Threaten Louisburg College's Future

Posted February 6, 2008 9:11 p.m. EST
Updated February 6, 2008 9:48 p.m. EST

— 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.