by: Tenikka Smith Updated:
CONCORD, N.C. - A historically black college in Concord is fighting to keep its doors open for years to come.
Barber Scotia College lost its accreditation nine years ago and lots of critical funding along with it.
Dr. David Olah came to work as president of Barber Scotia College six years ago to help get back the accreditation it lost back in 2004 under a different administration.
After years of work, he said the one key area that still needs to be improved is financial stability.
"Once we can take care of our financial debt and demonstrate our operational funds, we'll be able to move forward," Olah said.
The historically black college is around $12 million in debt.
Olah said a bulk of the debt is tied to a construction loan from the early 2000s used to renovate a building on campus.
The college hopes to meet an immediate goal to raise $3 to $4 million to help push its progress forward.
The college and board of trustees are actively working to get donations, reaching out to the private sector and alumni around the country.
Olah said he and his staff are so dedicated to helping the school get on firm financial ground that many of them work and teach for free or below standard pay.
Olah is also not taking a salary.
“Without the commitment dedication and service of our staff, we wouldn’t be able to operate,” Olah said.
“We are here because of students,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Yvonne Tracey.
Tracey said right now 30 students are enrolled and the college will continue to work to attract more through its revamped focus in workforce development, which includes degrees in renewable energy and business entrepreneurship.
“We have a legacy that it would be ashamed not to carry it over, and the only way to carry on that legacy is to invest in the students who come across this campus,” said Tracey.
In addition to eliminating its debt, the college is also working on a plan to be financially self-sufficient in the future.
Olah said the goal is to not rely on federal funding and loans to operate and help students pay for school without graduating with mountains of debt.
To learn more about the college or to donate, click here.