Louisburg College keeps accreditation

December 9, 2009 

Louisburg College has stabilized its finances enough to win accreditation until 2016.

The two-year residential college in Franklin County was at risk of losing its accreditation. In recent years, the college had borrowed money for operating expenses, amassing a debt of about $5 million. Last year, the college slashed its budget and cut jobs and has stopped taking on debt through a line of credit.

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which voted to extend Louisburg's accreditation Tuesday at a meeting in Atlanta, had kept the college on probation since 2006.

"We're very pleased," said college President Mark La Branche. "We have a very unique mission. And I'm excited we'll be able to continue that mission and grow stronger in it.

La Branche took over as president in January and made several changes to attract more students and generate revenue. He said the college has had to cut more positions, reallocate financial aid and increase its fundraising efforts. It also put more money into departments, such as recruiting, that La Branche said would produce a return.

As a result, the college saw a 10 percent growth in enrollment, to about 650 students, and a 20 percent spike in freshmen.

La Branche also said the economy has driven more students into education.

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