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JACKSONVILLE, Texas (AP) — The oldest junior college in Texas has filed for federal bankruptcy protection in an ongoing effort to stay open.

Lon Morris College restructuring officer Dawn Ragan says the 158-year-old private college filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition Tuesday in the Eastern District of Texas.

Ragan says the two-year East Texas college has been losing money in recent years since taking on “significant debt” to try to boost enrollment. She says the filing was needed to stop foreclosure proceedings against some campus dormitories.

Lon Morris trustees have said the only hope for survival is a merger. Ragan says efforts continue to modify the curriculum to meet accreditation requirements.

In May, the college furloughed most of its faculty and staff, and the president resigned. Jacksonville is about 120 miles southeast of Dallas.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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