Voter approval of $750 million in New Jersey general obligation bonds to fund university facilities on Nov. 6 is a credit positive for universities, Moody's Investors Service said.

"The state funding will off-set capital costs that would have been borne entirely by the state's already highly leveraged universities," Edie Behr, vice president and senior credit officer and manager, wrote in a report.

The financing is the first of its kind since 1988, when the $350 million Jobs, Education & Competitiveness Bond Act was approved.

"While the state bond proceeds will only be available to fund 75% of project costs, issuance of bonds by the state to fund needed capital expenditures will off-set amounts that universities would otherwise have had to fund on their own, most likely by further borrowing," Behr said.

About 40% of the proceeds have been designated to benefit the state's public research universities, including Rutgers, Rowan, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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