Massachusetts officials are moving closer to selling a $400 million new-money, student loan bond sale, with hopes that the deal will gain as much investor interest as a recent New Jersey higher education loan transaction.

Both deals include fixed-rate bonds backed by private, fixed-rate loans for higher education. That structure differs from the majority of auction-rate student loan bonds that higher educational student assistance authorities have issued over the past few years to help fund their programs. Yet the $350 million New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority transaction, which priced on Aug. 1, had one perk the upcoming Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority bond deal has yet to gain - a moral obligation from its state.

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