State Treasurer Young Boozer said on Friday he has requested an opinion from the Alabama Attorney General's Office about the constitutionality of the Distressed Institutions of Higher Education Revolving Loan Program recently passed by the legislature.

Legislators appropriated $30 million for the program in the Education Trust Fund supplemental bill passed in the 2023 regular session.

"We have been developing the application and procedures to administer this program. In addition, we have sought an Opinion of the Attorney General on the constitutionality of such a loan program," Boozer said in a statement. "Once we have received the Opinion, we plan to proceed as expeditiously as we can, taking into account the findings of the Attorney General's Opinion. We will make more information available about the program on the State Treasurer's website."

According to the Treasurer's Office, each applicant will be required to submit information and documentation in support of the application. The Treasurer will "review all applications and perform a thorough investigation to determine each applicant's qualifications and ability to repay." During the evaluation process, the Treasurer may request additional information or documentation from the institution. No guarantee is made that proceeds for loans will be available or that any applicant will receive any loan proceeds from the Fund, and the Treasurer reserves the right to deny any or all applications.

The loan program, that was enacted by the Alabama Legislature in the 2023 regular session, authorizes the State Treasurer to establish terms and conditions of the loans. 

State Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills), an alumnus of Birmingham-Southern College, sponsored the bill that created the program. Waggoner and other Birmingham-area legislators hoped to secure a $30 million state grant to the financially-ailing Birmingham-Southern College early in the 2023 regular session, but the plan switched to loaning the school the money later on in the session. The school isn't specifically mentioned in the legislation.

To be eligible, a college or university in Alabama must meet all of the following criteria: 

1) has been operating for more than 50 years in Alabama, 

2) has a significant impact on the community in which it is located, 

3) is experiencing financial hardship, which could lead to closure of the institution, 

4) whose governing body has adopted a resolution authorizing the application for a loan from this program to maintain operations as it replenishes its endowment through private gifts, 

5) has assets sufficient to pledge as collateral.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.