Birmingham-Southern College is closing

March 27, 2024
Trustees have voted to close the school, founded in 1918, after Alabama lawmakers said a bailout was likely to fail.

Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama, will close on May 31 after a nearly 18-month fight to stay open

The Alabama Reflector reports that the college's Board of Trustees voted to shut the school down after legislative leaders told them that a bill to extend the private school a $30 million loan was unlikely to pass.

The college faced declining enrollment and poor finances stemming from overbuilding, the 2008 recession and the Covid-19 pandemic. It had sought a bridge loan from the legislature to continue operations

The school says it is making arrangements to maximize credit transfers for students.

The legislature last year passed a law to extend a loan to the school. The loan was considered all-but-guaranteed until last fall, when State Treasurer Young Boozer, who oversaw the program, declined to issue it. Boozer cited concerns with the school’s long-term stability.  

The school filed an lawsuit against the Treasurer’s Office after the denial, but it was unsuccessful.

A bill that would have changed administration of the program to the head of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education passed the Senate last month and got out of a House committee last week, but some lawmakers seemed doubtful of its chances. 

Birmingham-Southern College was founded in 1918 after the merger of Southern University, chartered in 1856, and Birmingham College, founded in 1910.


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