Alderson Broaddus University, which has spent the past two months teetering on the edge of failure, filed for bankruptcy Thursday and told its employees, students and alumni that it would close.
“It is with heavy heart that we announce the final closure of our beloved Alderson Broaddus University effective today,” the university’s statement said. “Due to the unexpected decision of the Higher Education Policy Commission on July 31, 2023, AB was unable to enroll students and collect the necessary income to remain open any longer, and there was simply no other choice at this point other than to file a petition for bankruptcy.”
Officials at the state commission expressed concerns about the small Baptist institution’s financial situation in late June, decided to give it more time (on a short leash) amid pressure from West Virginia governor Jim Justice and alumni, and then stripped the college of its authority to award degrees a month ago. State officials said Alderson Broaddus was fundraising to meet payroll and pay utility bills.
In an announcement about the bankruptcy filing, university officials appeared to blame the closure on the state commission. “This action was taken one month after the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission directed AB to offer only limited classes to approximately 20 students during the fall semester,” the statement said. “The inability of AB to receive anticipated normal tuition revenue for the fall semester precluded AB’s continued operation.”
The notice also said that Alderson Broaddus is due to receive at least $1 million from the Internal Revenue Service for recession-related employee retention credit, but that “those funds were not received in time to permit ongoing operation.”
Alderson Broaddus’s woes were long in the making, though, with deficits in nine of the last 10 years and enrollment having fallen by half over that time.