Northam proposes to restructure higher education debt, saving schools $300 million | Govt-and-politics

* $2.8 million for Virginia Military Institute;

*  $344,000 at the University of Virginia; and

*  $320,000 at Richard Bland College of William & Mary.

Five of the institutions – UVA, Tech, William & Mary, VCU and James Madison – are Tier 3 institutions that could restructure their debts themselves because of their AA bond rating. Layne said the state potentially could refinance at a lower interest rate because of its AAA bond rating on Treasury backed bonds and AA+ rating on college building authority bonds.

“When we have Triple-A bond ratings we’re able to get lower interest rates,” said Northam, who said that the nation’s bond rating agencies already had reviewed the plan.

Protecting the state’s AAA bond rating is a top priority as the House of Delegates and Senate prepare to release their proposed changes to the revised budget that Northam submitted last month at the beginning of the special session. He initially called it to adopt a new revenue forecast that projects a $2.7 billion shortfall in the state’s two-year budget.

The leaders of the assembly’s budget committees said Tuesday that they will support the governor’s proposed plan for restructuring higher education debt when the legislature convenes in January.

“Our public higher education institutions are critical to Virginia’s success, and we know they are hurting right now,” said Senate Finance Committee Chair Janet Howell, D-Fairfax. “Allowing them to refinance some of their debt is an innovative way to save money when they need it most.” and I look forward to supporting the legislative portion of this proposal next session.”

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