Northam announces refinancing plan he says will save Virginia colleges more than $300 million

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced a new refinancing plan that he says will save Virginia’s public colleges and universities more than $300 million over the next two years.

The governor said the coronavirus outbreak has hit businesses and public colleges hard. However, interest rates have dropped to record lows across the country.

“One side of effect of the pandemic has the potential to help our public colleges,” he said at George Mason University on Tuesday. “There is a significant opportunity for our commonwealth and our public institutions to save money by restructuring our debt.”

In our area, Northam expects VCU to save more than $23 million and Virginia State University almost $13 million.

“As colleges and universities navigate a new world of online learning, hybrid schedules, and health measures, they’re facing added uncertainties as well as expenses,” he said Tuesday.

To take advantage of this, they are refinancing bonds issued by the Treasury Board of Virginia and the Virginia College Building Authority, which institutions of higher education use for capital projects.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have tremendous impacts on higher education, including the fiscal health of our colleges and universities,” Northam said. “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.”

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

Part of his plan will require the general assembly’s approval. Governor Northam hopes that happens in the next session coming up in just a few months.

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