BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — When classes were dismissed in the spring at Birmingham-Southern College, the future of the school was in doubt.
That’s why Wednesday’s first day of classes has added significance for BSC junior Xuan Huynh.
“I’m so excited. I’m so glad the school was able to stay open,” Huynh said. “We have a few new faculty members and I think that’s exciting, it kind of gives BSC like a new revamp.”
A revamped BSC comes after a near shutdown earlier this year due to the school reportedly owning $38 million in debts. The school got a reprieve when Governor Kay Ivey approved a $30 million loan in June. The City of Birmingham and Jefferson County Commission are expected to offer the college $7.5 million.
It’s been a challenging few months that took a toll on student enrollment and forced incoming freshmen like Sophie Scarpulla to have a backup plan.
”I had a couple of backup plans but I didn’t really want to go to any other school than BSC. I just knew this is the place I needed to go to. It’s the only place I really wanted to go to,” Scarpulla said. “Backup plans were there but I’m just so glad I didn’t need to use them.”
BSC Vice President of Student Development David Eberhardt says the college’s spring struggles have given way to a renewed sense of community on campus.
“For everyone who is here, you can’t not know what happened in the past six to eight months. so, I think everyone who is here — I think there’s a sense of we are all in,” Eberhardt said.
Scarpulla agrees and says in an odd way, the past struggles have given the school a new life.
”You can tell the people who are here want to be here, and it just seems so rejuvenated and everybody is just happy right now and it just feels like the community is back together,” Scarpulla said.
The school has experienced some fallout from the financial controversy. Fall enrollment is down around 200 students, with total enrollment estimated to be around 750 students compared to 950 students last fall. Of those 750 students on campus, around 180 are new students.