Northam announces plans to refinance college bonds

Northam announces plans to refinance college bonds
Governor Ralph Northam (Source: Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced a new plan to refinance debt related to construction on college campuses, a move he said will save public colleges $300 million over the next two years. Some schools, like Virginia Tech and James Madison University will see more support than others, like the University of Virginia.

Northam made the announcement Tuesday at George Mason University, which the governor’s office said will save $58.3 million over the next two years.

The governor said the state will take advantage of low interest rates by refinancing bonds issued by the Treasury Board of Virginia and the Virginia College Building Authority.

Schools like VT and JMU will see more than $40 million refinanced. Meanwhile at UVA, it’s only $344,000. UVA says that is because it issues its own debt and doesn’t do so through the state. UVA says its most recent bond sales were also issued at record-low interest rates, saving millions.

Northam said colleges would not have to make any principal payments on any VCBA bonds through fiscal 2023.

In a press release, Northam said as part of his plan, he will work with the General Assembly to allow additional flexibility for higher education refinancing during the 2021 General Assembly session.

“Governor Northam is committed to supporting Virginia’s institutions of higher education,” said Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne. “These savings will make a tremendous difference for our colleges and universities as they navigate these challenging times.”

The following savings are expected:

  • Christopher Newport University: $14.4 million
  • George Mason University: $58.3 million
  • James Madison University: $43.7 million
  • Longwood University: $8.2 million
  • Norfolk State University: $8.2 million
  • Old Dominion University: $29.8 million
  • Radford University: $5.1 million
  • Richard Bland College of William & Mary: $320,000
  • University of Mary Washington: $9.3 million
  • University of Virginia: $344,000
  • Virginia Commonwealth University: $23.1 million
  • Virginia Community College System: $9.7 million
  • Virginia Military Institute: $2.8 million
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: $40.1 million
  • Virginia State University: $12.8 million
  • William & Mary: $33.7 million

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Copyright 2020 WVIR. All rights reserved.