MONTGOMERY — The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved legislation on Wednesday to repeal the 2023 law creating a loan program for universities in financial straits after its designed recipient, Birmingham-Southern College (BSC), permanently shut down.

House Bill 415 (HB415), sponsored by State Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham), would repeal the loan program she sponsored in the House to help the struggling BSC in 2023.

Legislators appropriated $30 million for the program in the Education Trust Fund supplemental bill passed in the 2023 regular session. To be eligible, the college must have operated in the state for over 50 years, be experiencing financial hardship that could lead to the institution's closure and have assets sufficient to pledge as collateral.

Jefferson County delegates State Sens. Roger Smitherman (D-Birmingham) and Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills) sponsored the 2023 bill, which Givan carried in the House.

However, the loan program did not work as desired after State Treasurer Young Boozer denied BSC a $30 million loan. The school announced it was closing its doors after a bill by Waggoner to replace Boozer as the loan program administrator died on the legislative vine.

“Last year, I asked this committee to support a piece of legislation which would have created, or which ultimately did create, the institutions of higher education revolving loan program,” Givan told the committee. “There was not an appetite by the treasurer, as well as many other members here in the House of Representatives, to move forward with this piece of legislation or the type of funding that was established.

If it returns to the state coffers, the $30 million appropriation will be split in half. $15 million will go to the Lt. Governor’s Capitol Grant Fund, and the balance will be available for community service grants.

The bill passed the committee without any debate or discussion. It will now go upstairs for a House vote.  

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