Southeastern Bible College suspends operations, citing lack of resources

NORTH SHELBY – Southeastern Bible College will suspend operations because of a lack of resources, it was announced June 1.

SEBC’s Board of Trustees voted to suspend operations, effective immediately, upon the recent completion of an evaluation of the institute’s financial resources, projected cash flows, strategic challenges and possible solutions to generate the funds needed to support operations, according to a release posted on SEBC.edu.

The evaluation concluded that the college, which has operated for 82 years, will not have sufficient resources to meet its obligations.

“The Board of Trustees reached the somber conclusion that the best course of action for our students, faculty and staff is to implement a significant operations reduction, using the resources remaining to support the transition for our community, while keeping hope alive for a future Southeastern Bible College,” SEBC President Alexander Granados said in the release. “At this time, we cannot provide a definitive timeframe for a potential reopening of the college, but we actively are working through the details that will determine how long the transition period will last.”

SEBC is in the process of submitting a teach-out plan to the Association for Biblical Higher Education Commission on Accreditation, according to the release. SEBC will formalize an agreement with an academic institution that will help its students progress toward the completion of their degrees.

SEBC’s Board of Trustees is establishing a transition team that will determine the scope and duration of the transition period, and under what circumstances the transition period will end, according to the release.

“The primary focus and desire of the Board of Trustees is to take care of the immediate needs of our students, faculty and staff,” Michael W. Wesley Sr., chairman of the college’s Board of Trustees, said in the release. “This summer, we will begin the process of looking toward the future of Southeastern Bible College, and are committed to maintaining a college that is Bible- and Christ-centered and connected to our mission and the needs of the church and community; however, we must create a college that is financially sustainable and relevant for generations to come.”

Since April 2016, the Board of Trustees has been working on 2020 SABER Vision, a five-year strategic plan to achieve a balanced budget and transform SEBC.

Many of the opportunities to generate funds and transform SEBC did not materialize, according to the release.

Southeastern Bible College, described as “a higher education community that connects students who have a passion and call to ministry with an academically rigorous, biblically-based learning environment,” was founded on May 1, 1935 by Harry Ironside.

“At an inter-church Bible conference in Birmingham in 1933, the late Dr. Harry A. Ironside, a respected Bible teacher, challenged a group of Christian business and professional men to establish a Bible school,” according to a past school press release. “It was the unanimous conviction of these men that there was a vital need for a Bible-centered, evangelical school to train Christian workers.”

Since its founding, the school’s name changed from the Birmingham School of the Bible to the Southeastern Bible School in 1943, and was renamed Southeastern Bible College in 1952.

The school began in a two-story house before moving to Pawnee Avenue in Birmingham in 1947. In 1988, the college moved to Mountain Brook before moving to its current location on Valleydale Road in North Shelby in 2004.