“This past year marked a tremendous record of achievement in fulfilling the Authority’s mission to support New Jersey higher education and the students served by our institutions,” says New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority executive director Jeremy Spector.

The New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority achieved record bond volume in 2016, the higher education conduit issuer announced Friday.

The NJEFA's active year included selling an aggregated total of $1.35 billion of debt with an average transaction size exceeding $100 million. The authority was the nation's third largest higher education conduit issuer in 2016, according to Thomson Reuters, and topped all New Jersey issuers with 12 financings.

"This past year marked a tremendous record of achievement in fulfilling the Authority's mission to support New Jersey higher education and the students served by our institutions," NJEFA executive director Jeremy Spector said in a statement. "There is no better way to celebrate our record year than by affirming our commitment to providing the highest quality service to the State and its colleges and universities."

The NJEFA said the record issuance was fueled by a near-historic low interest rate environment that allowed it to achieve more than $130 million in combined net present value savings for eight colleges and universities using revenue refunding bonds. Among the schools benefiting from the volume spike was the College of New Jersey, which achieved $21.6 million in net present value savings through a refunding transaction.

"The remarkable savings captured from this refunding will have a tremendous positive impact on the College and its continued financial strength and stability," Lloyd Ricketts, the College of New Jersey's vice president and treasurer, said in a statement.

New money issuance from the NJEFA totaled $169.2 million, which the agency noted allowed four New Jersey institutions to pursue various campus capital improvements. The authority also sold new money bonds last year for the state's Capital Improvement Fund (CIF) and refunded prior outstanding CIF debt to generate $12.5 million in savings.

The NJEFA is planning another busy year with four transactions slated by the first week in April totaling $700 million in par value. It issued $338.44 million of Series 2017B revenue refunding bonds for Princeton University on March 7.

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