Financially struggling Birmingham college stays open for now


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The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Birmingham-Southern College will not close its doors this fall, officials at the financially struggling private college said Thursday, as the school works to stabilize its finances.

The Methodist-affiliated liberal arts school announced the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to remain open. The vote settled questions, at least for the immediate future, about whether the college would close.

Board chairman Rev. Keith D. Thompson said the trustees made the ”informed and thoughtful decision to keep Birmingham-Southern open” but he said the college is still hoping to receive “bridge funding” from government sources as well as an influx of cash from a fundraising campaign.

“We are already reaching out to our prospective students and will be hiring faculty and staff to ensure that we are delivering the full BSC experience this fall,” President Daniel Coleman said. “We will also be gearing up for the public phase of the endowment campaign, which will ensure our long-term financial resilience.”

Local lawmakers said in December the school needed a $37.5 million bailout from state and local governments to help stay afloat. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and lawmakers have so far rejected the idea of using tax dollars to bail out the private college. However, House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter said Thursday there are new discussions about a collateral-secured state loan.

“Certainly, we’d love to see them stay open but we’ve got to do it the right way,” Ledbetter said. “Going from just asking for the money to having collateral and doing a loan helps.”

Nestled in the Bush Hills neighborhood west of downtown Birmingham, the 200-acre campus makes up about half the community’s area and would become a risk for blight if closed, said Democratic Rep. Juandalynn Givan, who represents the area.

The school dates to 1856, when Southern University was founded in Greensboro, Alabama. That school merged with Birmingham College in 1918 to become Birmingham-Southern.

Categories: Alabama News, Local News