Virginia colleges refinancing to free up funds during pandemic

Virginia

(Photo courtesy: William & Mary)

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Public colleges and universities throughout Virginia are refinancing their debt payment plans to free up needed money during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Tuesday that the plan will allow more than $300 million in savings over the next two years.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have tremendous impacts on higher education, including the fiscal health of our colleges and universities,” said Governor Northam. “Families all over the country are taking advantage of record low interest rates to refinance their home mortgages, and we want our public institutions to benefit as well. Refinancing will free up millions of dollars in savings allowing our colleges and universities to make critical investments, meet the needs of Virginia students, and continue offering a world-class education.”

Northam’s office says the commonwealth’s AAA bond rating allowed for low interest rates for bonds issued by the Treasury Board of Virginia (TBV) and the Virginia College Building Authority (VCBA), which are used for capital projects.

Under the plan, the schools won’t have to make principal payments on VCBA bonds through the 2023 fiscal year, and payment plans for both VCBA and TBV bonds will be extended two years beyond their current schedule. Northam says he’s also looking to work with the General Assembly to allow more flexibility for refinancing during the 2021 session.

Here’s the breakdown of expected savings:

  • 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

“As stewards of the Commonwealth’s finances, we are always seeking creative solutions to financial issues,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Luke Torian. “Helping public colleges and universities restructure their debt obligations allows them to focus their resources on the pressing needs they face right now as a result of the pandemic.”

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