Birmingham-Southern College (BSC) is asking taxpayers to foot the bill for a $37.5 million government bailout, according to the Associated Press.
The Methodist-affiliated private college is asking for $12.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief money, $17.5 million in state education funding, $5 million from the city of Birmingham, and $2.5 million from Jefferson County.
A spokesperson for BSC released a statement Saturday, calling the request part of a plan "to put the college on a sound financial footing for the long term" and to "allow sufficient time for the fund-raising effort to succeed and to give BSC breathing room to operate."
"We believe Birmingham-Southern College's contributions to the greater Birmingham area and the state warrant such an investment, which is clearly permissible under state law and for which there is considerable precedent," a spokesperson for the college told the AP.
The bailout would cover "projected deficits through May 31, 2026."
"Birmingham-Southern has been operating in financial distress for over a decade. Without support, it will not be able to continue to operate after May 2023," State Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills) and Rep. Jim Carns (R-Vestavia Hills) wrote in a letter to lawmakers obtained by AL.com. "Without a commitment from the state, the college will need to notify high school students that it will no longer be accepting applications by the middle of January."
BSC has blamed its financial woes on the Great Recession of the late 2000s, significant investment in new buildings, and an error in federal financial aid accounting, according to the AP.
The Jefferson County legislative delegation is scheduled to meet Monday at 9 a.m. in person on campus and via Zoom.
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