U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) announced the award for financially struggling Birmingham-Southern College of $500,000 in federal money earlier this week for the school's "experiential learning and civic engagement student initiatives" and suggested that lawmakers should use public funds to bail out the private college.

Birmingham-Southern is a private Methodist-affiliated college. Late last year, the college requested a $37.5 million bailout from local, state and federal taxpayers. The bailout has also garnered the support of State Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestvia Hills) and State Rep. Jim Carns (R-Vestavia Hills). 

The college asked for $12.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds and $17.5 million from the state education fund. It also requested a $5 million contribution from the Birmingham City Council and $2.5 million from the Jefferson County Commission (JCC).

Sewell presented the money to BSC president Daniel Coleman on Wednesday. She said the funds would help win students internships and jobs.

According to reports, Sewell also supported bailing out the university. She told the press that Alabama couldn't afford to lose BSC.

JCC president Jimmie Stephens warned 1819 News last year that bailing out a private college could be a "slippery slope."

In January, BSC officials asked alums to lobby state and local elected officials for a $37.5 million bailout from the government.

However, earlier this month, State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) said that it was not likely that the state would pursue a bailout for the college.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email will.blakely@1819news.com or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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