Higher Ed Intercept program will save ASC $2 million

(05-02-2008)

Adams State College stands to save over $2 million in construction finance costs, thanks to the Higher Education Intercept program (SB 08-245), recently approved by the Colorado House and Senate and sent to the Governor for signature.

Colorado State Treasurer Cary Kennedy helped develop the program to lower the interest rates Colorado colleges and universities pay to finance capital construction by giving them the opportunity to access the state's strong credit rating.

"The individuals who worked on this legislation are to be congratulated for their thoughtfulness and foresight, including ASC's own vice president Bill Mansheim and Trustee Peggy Lamm. It not only saves money for institutions, but for students over the next 20 years. For Adams State College students, that amounts to a savings of $2.5 million," said Adams State President, Dr. David Svaldi. "We are especially grateful to the bill's sponsors, Sen. Sue Windels and Rep. Bernie Buescher, who've done a great job. Senator Windels has been a strong advocate for public education throughout her years in the legislature."

The Adams State student body recently approved a new capital fee to fund a $35 million campus renewal project. Plans call for building a new residence hall and renovating two academic buildings, as well as remodeling current student housing.

"It's been so exciting to work on an issue that will save millions of dollars for our wonderful college," Lamm said. "There are always a lot of people involved in passing any legislation, especially one so late in the legislative session. But our State Treasurer, Cary Kennedy, deserves immense credit for her leadership, as her office cultivated and advanced this important legislation."

Over the past year, colleges and universities have seen their borrowing costs rise dramatically, as firms that have historically insured university bonds have been downgraded. The result has been increased costs to finance construction.

"We are doing everything we can to make college more affordable," said Kennedy. "This program will save tens of millions of dollars in financing costs which, in turn, keeps costs down for students."

Windels, who sponsored the bill in the Sentate, said, "I'm delighted that we will be able to save our higher education institutions millions of dollars in financing and interest costs on bond issues with this legislation. Dollars saved are most useful when it comes to needing to stretch the budget-- that's for sure!" She chairs the Senate Education Committee and also sits on the Capital Development Committee.

Under the Intercept program, which is modeled after a similar program currently available to Colorado K-12 school districts, the state will back university bonds with general fund appropriations for higher education.

"This is a procedure that has existed since 1991 for K-12 districts," said Rep. Bernie Buescher, House sponsor of the bill. "It's proven to be reliable and will allow higher ed institutions to finance new construction at much better rates." The bill has been praised by higher education officials from across the state.

By Julie Waechter