BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – On Wednesday, registration for classes re-opened for students at Birmingham-Southern College (BSC) after a tumultuous semester.
The college recently sued State Treasurer Young Boozer after he rejected its application for funding to stay open. A Montgomery judge ruled in favor of Boozer.
“This state needs this institution, and this institution needs this state in order to step up and help us,” said Trent Gilbert, BSC Vice President of Enrollment.
BSC said it’s at a 6-year high for the number of applicants for next fall. The college said this just goes to show how much BSC is wanted by Alabamians.
“We know that when students leave the state, they oftentimes don’t come back and if BSC weren’t here and weren’t an option for students, those students would leave the state and never come back,” Gilbert said.
BSC officials said around 700 students are currently enrolled for the spring semester and they hope to enroll between 300-400 new students next fall.
BSC said it looks at the financial obstacle it’s facing as just that – an obstacle in its path forward.
“There’s always a worry,” Gilbert said. “There’s a worry though that in this business and in this industry, there’s a worry that demographics are going to impact numbers down the road. There’s a worry about costs being on the front of everyone’s minds. There’s always these headwinds that we face.”
Nadia Fokkens, a BSC sophomore on the pre-law track, said it can be exhausting trying to stay on top of classwork and keep good grades while fighting to keep the school open.
“A few of us went to Montgomery last Friday to deliver some of our own personal claims to Treasurer Boozer, so that was that, and posting on our social media,” Fokkens said. “Also just encouraging students to stay and encouraging students to promote BSC and just remember why we’re here.”
With so much love for her school, Fokkens has one message for Boozer.
“We’ve been viewed as an institution instead of individual people’s lives who are being affected,” Fokkens said. “I hope they do take that into consideration that it’s not just the student’s lives but everyone who works here whose lives will be affected forever.”
BSC said it will be able to stay open through May. The early action application deadline is November 15th.