KOSCIUSKO, Miss. (BNc) — Magnolia Bible College will close its doors on Dec. 17, according to the school’s website. The decision was made Aug. 19 by the board of trustees.

The 33-year-old Bible training school cited as the cause of the forced closure financial pressures from the trend of decreasing enrollment, escalating costs and lack of donations and revenues.

Layoffs already have affected half the staff.

“The faculty and staff did what they could to cut expenses over the last several years, however, our expenses have exceeded our income. The closing was inevitable. We are still receiving donations from alumni and friends of the institution to continue classes this semester and offset the debt incurred by the institution,” said Mark Castleberry, chairman of the board.

“We believe this was a great work for the kingdom of Christ,” said John Gardner, elder at the South Huntington church and acting president for MBC. “Our alumni have and will continue to prove that this institution served a great purpose for the Lord. While I am saddened that we have to close the school, I am encouraged by the trees we have managed to plant in the kingdom of our Lord.”

A.L. Franks, long-time editor of the Magnolia Messenger and closely associated with the college, told BNc that the closing would not affect the newspaper, which, in fact, plans to expand its coverage.

“Pray for the college as its work winds down, and please remember the college staff and students,” said Franks, urging all supporters to continue their help until all financial obligations are satisfied. “Even though the school is closing, we have a lot to be thankful for, and the brotherhood will continue to be blessed by the rich heritage of Magnolia Bible College,” he said.

Representatives of Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn., and other universities that offer degrees in Bible, will be consulting with the remaining students who will have to finish their degrees elsewhere.