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Birmingham Southern College Will Close On May 31 Due To Financial Difficulties

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Birmingham Southern College Will Close On May 31 Due To Financial Difficulties

(CTN News) – Birmingham-Southern College (BSC), a storied institution in the heart of Alabama, announced on May 31 that it would cease operations, concluding a chapter on its long and rich history. Legislative support for securing financial stability failed after nearly 18 months.

Following indications from legislative leaders that a bill facilitating a $30 million loan to the school would not pass the Alabama House of Representatives, the college’s Board of Trustees decided to close the institution.

Several college members expressed profound grief at the announcement, including the college’s board chair. As a “tragic day,” Keith D.

Thompson lamented the closure of the college not only for its immediate family of students, employees, and alumni, but also for Birmingham and Alabama as a whole. Providing major economic and cultural contributions to Birmingham for more than 100 years, BSC is a cornerstone of the city’s culture and economy.

A combination of declining enrollment, overexpansion, the Great Recession, and the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to BSC’s financial woes. Despite these challenges, the college sought legislative assistance in the form of a bridge loan to sustain operations until a longer-term solution could be found.

Due to his years of experience in the banking industry, State Treasurer Young Boozer questioned the college’s creditworthiness and expressed concerns over its long-term viability.

A Senate bill and a House committee passed legislation aimed at amending the administration of the loan program. It is worth mentioning, however, that the proposal faced skepticism among some legislators, a reflection of broader concerns about the permissibility of using taxpayer funds to bail out private institutions.

As a result of the closure, Birmingham will face a range of impacts, from the displacement of students and the loss of employment for faculty and staff, to the resulting economic and cultural void.

During this transition, the college has pledged to prioritize the needs of its students, arranging for the maximum number of credit transfers and ensuring that a limited number of seniors are able to complete their degrees.

Local and national leaders have expressed disappointment and frustration regarding the situation, with Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and U.S.

It is with great sadness that Representative Terri Sewell expresses her sadness over the loss of a significant institution that has contributed to the development of leaders across the country.

As a result of tuition dependence, small endowments, and competitive pressures, small, private liberal arts colleges across the country are increasingly vulnerable to financial instabilities.

According to Inside Higher Ed and The Hechinger Report, college closures are on the rise, with BSC joining a growing list of institutions unable to cope with the harsh realities of the contemporary higher education economy.

In the midst of this significant loss, Birmingham-Southern College serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of institutions that have long been pillars of their communities as well as the complex interrelationship between finance, policy, and education that makes it possible to maintain these legacies.


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