Birmingham-Southern College (BSC) will likely stay open until at least the end of the 2024 spring semester after possibly securing additional funding from the city of Birmingham and other sources, according to BSC president Daniel Coleman.
BSC, a private school, is financially troubled due to missteps by the College's administration in previous years and declining enrollment. Alabama State Treasurer Young Boozer recently denied a $30 million state loan to bail the private school out.
Legislators passed the Distressed Institutions of Higher Education Revolving Loan Program and appropriated $30 million in the 2023 legislative session. The Alabama State Treasurer's Office administers the program.
Montgomery County Circuit Judge James Anderson dismissed a lawsuit recently filed by BSC against Boozer for the loan denial.
Attorneys for BSC have previously said the school would shut down at the end of the fall semester if the state loan weren't secured.
State Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham) told 1819 News in an interview on Friday, "I heard that they anticipate being able to finish the year out based off getting some assistance from the city of Birmingham and other sources."
"That's a good thing. It'll give us a chance to address the issue when we go back to the legislature," Smitherman said. "It's kind of early right now as to what we would do. We're going to work to make sure that the intent of the legislature if people qualify based on the standards that we set then they should receive whatever assistance is available."
An Alabama State Treasurer's Office spokesperson said on Sunday the loan denial was "based on insufficient collateral and the lack of a first perfected security interest in all collateral assets."
Boozer told 1819 News on Friday he still has the same position on denying the loan.
"It went to court. We won and they have 42 days to appeal so we are still sort of in the mode of potential litigation, further litigation so I can't really say anything at this point," Boozer said.
Coleman said in a statement on Friday he expected BSC to stay open through at least the next spring semester due to possible funding sources from the city of Birmingham and others becoming available.
"On August 15, the Birmingham City Council passed a resolution that charged Mayor Randall Woodfin with creating an economic development plan of up to $5 million to support Birmingham-Southern College. Since then, we have continued to work with Mayor Woodfin, who will formally present his plan to the Council on Nov. 21. We are grateful to him and to the Council for their consideration of this critically important support," Coleman said. Other avenues of support are firming up this week. These developments give us confidence that, at a minimum, we will complete the academic year, during which we will continue to procure funds that will stabilize the College for the long term. That includes working with the Alabama Legislature, private donors, and other entities. Students, you should register for spring 2024 classes and continue with your plans for the January E-Term."
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