Birmingham-Southern College closing on May 31

Closure follows a tumultuous 18 months for the 168-year-old college

Birmingham-Southern College will cease operations on May 31 following an 18-month effort to obtain bridge funding to put the 168-year-old college on sound financial ground.

BSC’s board of trustees today voted unanimously to close the college after a pending bill in front of the Alabama legislature failed to win sufficient support in the Alabama House of Representatives.

“This is a tragic day for the college, our students, our employees and our alumni,” said the Rev. Keith D. Thompson, chair of BSC’s board, in a news release from the college. “But it is also a terrible day for Birmingham, for the neighborhoods who have surrounded our campus for more than 100 years, and for Alabama.”

The loss extends further, according to Thompson.

“Through this challenging year-and-a-half, we have talked a lot about BSC’s more than $90 million annual economic impact on Alabama, with $68 million of that right here in our city,” he said. “But beyond that loss – which is enormous — the loss of a nationally ranked liberal arts college that has contributed so much to this state and to the world – and still had so much to give – is incalculable.”

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BSC President Daniel B. Coleman said the college has exhausted options to obtain a loan through the Distressed Institutions of Higher Learning Revolving Loan Fund. State treasurer Young Boozer initially denied the loan in October 2023, and a revised bill to move the administration of the loan program to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education did not get the support to move forward.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin called the impending closure “disappointing and heartbreaking.”

“I’ve stood alongside members of our City Council to protect this institution and its proud legacy of shaping leaders,” Woodfin said. “It’s frustrating that those values were not shared by lawmakers in Montgomery.”

BSC will help students forced to transfer to other institutions.

“We are putting students first, and we will do everything we can to help them find the best place to continue their path to graduation,” said Provost Dr. Laura K. Stultz. “We are working with other institutions – including those in the Associated Colleges of the South as well as some in-state colleges and universities – on agreements that will help maximize the transfer of credits to keep them on track.”

According to the release, BSC will also do what it can to help employees who will be displaced May 31.

“If you are a college looking for incredible students and faculty, or an employer looking for profoundly loyal employees, you will not find better people than the people on this campus,’ Thompson said. “They are what you hope for whenever you bring in someone new.”

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