Financially strapped Birmingham-Southern to close in May, leaders says

Published 1:55 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Officials with Birmingham-Southern College said Tuesday that the college would close on May 31 after state legislation aimed at loaning the school money failed to pass in the Alabama House.

“This is a tragic day for the College, our students, our employees, and our alumni, and an outcome so many have worked tirelessly to prevent,” said the Rev. Keith D. Thompson, chairman of the college’s board of trustees. “We understand the devastating impact this has on each of you, and we will now direct our efforts toward ensuring the smoothest possible transition for everyone involved.”

The announcement ended a fight by the college for a loan to help it survive.

“The board of trustees voted unanimously today to close the College after a 2024 bill designed to amend the 2023 legislation that established the loan program on which our future depended failed to win sufficient support in the Alabama House of Representatives,” Thompson said. “Without that funding, the College does not have the resources to continue.”

Birmingham Southern College dates back to 1856 when the Alabama Legislature chartered what was then Southern University, a Methodist institution.

Southern University opened in 1859. The school merged with Birmingham College in 1918.

Last year the college announced it was struggling financially and sought state financial support to remain open.

After indications that such financial support would not come from the Alabama Legislature, the college’s board of trustees voted Tuesday to close.