LINDSBORG – In a press conference Saturday, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan) announced that Bethany College has received a $21.2 million U.S. Department of Agriculture low interest loan under the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. With the loan, Bethany College will be able to purchase New Hall from Crossland Construction, pay off long-term, higher-interest-rate debt, and save more than $600,000 per year.

"Bethany College is a special place important to many students and their families,” said Moran. “The assistance this RD loan provides will enable the college to better provide quality facilities and lower operating costs – congratulations to President (Will) Jones. Kansas is better because of Bethany College and its graduates who contribute to the well-being of communities across our state.”

Bethany College is enjoying a great start to the academic year. In August, the college welcomed the largest freshman class in its 136 year history and enjoyed an increase of 16 percent on full-time enrollment over last year.

Early in October, Bethany announced the receipt of its largest single gift ever. Thanks to improving finances, students were greeted this semester with the addition of three faculty members to the faculty ranks. In addition, a stronger annual operating budget has allowed the college to improve classroom and athletic facilities and add additional laboratory equipment. Earlier this fall, Bethany secured funding to replace or repair more than a dozen roofs across campus.

During Saturday's announcement, Will Jones, Bethany College president, stated, "This has been an incredible year for Bethany College. We are extremely grateful for today's announcement! It is encouraging to know that this loan will allow Bethany College to purchase New Hall and refinance existing debt," Jones said. "By owning New Hall, instead of leasing, and through a better interest rate on our debt, the college will save more than $600,000 every year."

Bethany College officials, led by Interim President Dr. Robert Vogel and Jones, began working on the loan process in May 2016. Over the course of the past 18 months, the college's Chief Financial Officer, Jean Hall, and President Jones partnered with Longhouse Capital Advisors and the regional and state USDA offices to complete the application process. Bethany received notice of the loan approval in late August.

“Bethany College has been serving students and Kansas for more than 130 years, and I couldn’t be more excited to see the college continue delivering,” said Rep. Roger Marshall. “We often think of the USDA as serving only farmers, but Bethany College is yet another example of the importance of farm bill programs in rural development, and the vital growth of small towns. Continued success and growth of our colleges and universities allows for development and prosperity for the people and places they serve, and the role Bethany College plays in Lindsborg and the Big First is beyond measure. I give Bethany College my sincerest congratulations, and am honored by the opportunity to serve them in Congress.”

Opened in August 2015, New Hall features a unique living experience for its students that emphasizes community while offering privacy to its residents. The 241 bed residence hall is one of the most popular options among Bethany’s housing options. Emphasizing community with its shared living spaces, the hall also offers privacy with each bed in its own room. The rooms are configured in suites that range from 1 to four person and three large suites including two six-person suites and one 10-person suite. In addition, New Hall features two classrooms, large laundry facility, and wireless internet throughout the residence hall.

"This building gives the students of Bethany College the ability to live and learn in a facility that rivals any residence hall in the state of Kansas,” says Dr. Ryan Van Dusen, Dean of Student Development. “A strong sense of community has been developed in this hall which enables our students to be successful both in and out of the classroom."

Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The mission of Bethany College is to educate, develop and challenge individuals to reach for truth and excellence as they lead lives of faith, learning, and service. Learn more at http://bethanylb.edu.