Bennett College officials continue to work as $5 million fundraising deadline approaches

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Bennett Colleges officials say their work is still not done, even after they reach their goal. The school needs to raise $5 million by 11:59 p.m. Friday to keep the school's accreditation and remain open.

"I'm very positive that we'll reach our goal," said Charles Coote, a member of the board of trustees.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time Bennett College has faced financial struggles. They've been on a two-year probation, which is why they received the deadline.

The school failed to meet guidelines set by the Southern Association of Colleges and School's Commission.

"There's many nights I've probably called people up until 11 and 12 o’clock at night. Churches and organizations trying to raise money," said Coote.

As Bennett College pushes to reach their goal, school officials said there will be even more work once they hit the mark.

"We have a re-engineering department, a committee that's set up that will work with the president and along with the trustees,” Coote said.

This 10-person team would focus on new ways to attract students through different courses and programs.

"We'll look into offering classes that aren't offered at A&T, GTCC, UNCG and Guilford College,” Coote said.

Coote said low enrollment numbers and slow fundraising efforts have hurt Bennett.

"Being at an HBCU school is very hard and fundraising has to be ongoing at all times,” he said.

Ever since the possible closure announcement, leaders of the board of trustees have been under fire for Bennett's downfall.

Coote said they're working hard to make the best decisions they can for the survival of the school.

"When I go on campus, I feel the sisterhood, with the young ladies of Bennett,” he said. “It's just something you see in their eyes. That's why I'm so passionate."

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