History / Timeline
NJEFA, an independent and self-supporting state agency, is in its fifth decade of helping New Jersey’s public and private colleges and universities obtain low-cost financing to preserve and grow their campus facilities. NJEFA is proud of its history of support for the treasures that are New Jersey’s colleges and universities and their mission to provide opportunities for our citizens that will build the future of all of New Jersey.
- Governor Richard Hughes appointed a Citizens Committee for Higher Education in New Jersey. Chaired by Robert F. Goheen, President of Princeton University, and comprising the State’s leaders in academia, business and industry, the Committee evaluated the inadequacies of higher education in New Jersey, studied the effectiveness of our institutions in providing quality educations to growing student populations, and made recommendations for change.
- The Committee published A Call to Action in 1966 which stated, “[T]he word ‘crisis’ is not too strong for the plight of public higher education in New Jersey. Both quantitatively and qualitatively the present system is inadequate for the tasks at hand.”
- Among other suggestions, the Committee recommended the creation of the Authority based on the model of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.
- Governor Hughes agreed with the Committee’s recommendations and said, “What is at stake here is the future of generations of New Jersey’s young citizens, and therefore, the very future of the State itself. Our State’s economic and social potential are bound to a well-educated vigorous citizenry.”
- The Legislature concurred, and it described the need for, and mission of, the Authority by declaring,“[t]hat a serious public emergency exists affecting and threatening the welfare, comfort, health safety and prosperity of the people of the state and resulting from the fact that financial resources are lacking with which to construct required dormitory and other educational facilities at public and private institutions of higher education; that it is essential that this and future generations of youth be given the fullest opportunity to learn and to develop their intellectual and mental capacities ... and that it is the purpose of this chapter to provide a measure of assistance and an alternative method to enable institutions of higher education in the State to provide the facilities which are sorely needed to accomplish the purposes of this chapter, all to the public benefit and good.”
- The Authority came into existence on June 16, 1966, when Governor Hughes signed Senate Bill 415 (P.L. 1966, Chapter 106), sponsored by Senators Keegan and O’Connor.
- September 27, 1966, the Authority held its first board meeting in the Office of the State Treasurer in Trenton. Governor Hughes was present and spoke about the importance of the Authority to the future of higher education in New Jersey. With the exception of George Fleming, all of the Authority’s founding members were present, including Richard MacGill, William Kirchner, Jacob Slavitt, Thomas Butler, State Treasurer John Kervick, and Joseph Clayton, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Education.
- Richard MacGill was elected by the members to serve as the Authority’s first Chair. The members next appointed John Mitchell, Esq., in the pre-Watergate infamy stage of his career, to serve as the Authority’s first bond counsel. Mitchell and his firm, Caldwell, Trimble and Mitchell of New York City, had been retained earlier by the New Jersey Legislature and had worked with the Attorney General’s Office in drafting the Authority’s enabling legislation. Mitchell also prepared the Authority’s by-laws and assisted members with early staff development responsibilities.
- May 11, 1967, Edward J. Bambach was appointed to serve as the Authority’s first Executive Director.
- Despite its formation and organization, the Authority was not able to begin financing projects. Mitchell raised certain constitutional questions with the Authority’s statute that, if not addressed, would prevent him from being able to deliver the approving opinions necessary for the issuance of Authority securities.
- The Authority and Mitchell orchestrated a lawsuit in which the Authority’s two ex-officio members sued each other to resolve questions of constitutionality. The Authority asked the Attorney General’s Office to draft a bill for introduction in the Legislature that would authorize appointment of special counsel by the Attorney General to argue the “negative side” of a case to be brought before the State Supreme Court. The Attorney General’s Office did so, and the bill, S-158, was introduced and passed by the Legislature.
- March 22, 1967, Authority Member and Acting Commissioner of the Department of Education, Joseph Clayton, wrote a letter to the State Treasurer and Authority Member, John Kervick, requesting that $100,000 be transferred in accordance with the Authority’s Act, for preliminary project planning needs. The next day, State Treasurer Kervick denied the Authority’s funding request based on pending questions of constitutionality.
- In response, Acting Commissioner Clayton, along with the Authority and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey, filed suit against State Treasurer Kervick to test the validity of the Authority’s Act. Joining the case with the State Treasurer were the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Jewish Congress, both of which were particularly interested in the aspect of the case that dealt with separation of church and state.
- June 28, 1968, the New Jersey Supreme Court determined that the Authority’s Act was constitutional as it related to financing projects for public and non-sectarian institutions and later, for sectarian independent institutions. The Supreme Court’s decision regarding sectarian institutions was appealed to the US Supreme Court. That body remanded the case to the New Jersey Supreme Court which upheld the constitutionality of the Authority on December 21, 1971.
- March 25, 1969, the Authority completed its first financings that comprised three separate series of bond anticipation notes for campus facilities at Rider College (now Rider University), Montclair State College (now Montclair State University), and Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey).
- The first series was in the amount of $4,000,000 to help Rider College build a student center with dining facilities for 600 students, a 400-seat theater-auditorium, a student book store, recreational facilities, a closed circuit television studio and areas for student organizations and functions. The second series was issued for Montclair State College in the amount of $5,027,000 to construct a 15-story student residence facility and food service unit for 600 students. The third series was for Trenton State College in the amount of $9,400,000 for a twin-tower dormitory to accommodate 1,060 students and an inter-connecting dining hall to service 530 students.
- May 14, 1974, William L. Kirchner was elected Chair.
- The Authority celebrated its 10th Anniversary. By the end of 1976, it had completed more than $392 million in financings and had become a nationally recognized issuer in the municipal financial markets. The result was the construction of 28 projects comprising 90 campus buildings at 16 different colleges and universities.
- August 8, 1978, Howard Kaye was elected Chair.
- The Authority completed its 100th bond issue, a $100,000 financing for Ramapo College.
- The Authority's statute was amended to permit re-financing of debt obligations of colleges and universities that were not "original" Authority-financed transactions (P.L. 1980, Chapter 31).
- September 19, 1980, William Kircher was elected Chair for the second time.
- May 6, 1981, Sidney M. Weinstein was elected Chair.
- Governor Thomas H. Kean signed Assembly Bills 1173 and 1177 (P.L. 1986, Chapter 42, 43) that created the State College Autonomy Act. This Act was the first step in the deregulation of New Jersey’s public colleges and universities. It shifted operational control of public institutions from the Department of Higher Education to the public colleges and universities themselves. This included control over their missions, selection of their Presidents, establishment of admissions policies and degree requirements, and some control over their financial affairs including tuition, fees and endowments.
- May 7, 1986, Barton E. Harrison was elected Chair.
- The Authority celebrated its 20th anniversary and exceeded $1 billion total financings for the first time.
- Throughout the 1980’s, the Authority and its clients encountered the challenges of high interest rates and federal attempts to restrict flow of tax-exempt debt. Authority Executive Director, Ed Bambach, had a leading role in the national debate that preceded the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
- Bambach’s advocacy efforts for higher education led him to work with other states to found the National Association of Higher Educational Facilities Authorities (NAHEFA). Bambach served as NAHEFA’s first president.
- The Legislature approved the Jobs Education and Competitiveness Act (JECA) (P.L. 1988, Chapter 78). A $350 million general obligation bond issue for campus facilities, it was the first general obligation issue for higher education in 10 years.
- Governor Kean signed A1137/S416 (P.L. 1988, Chapter 159) that gave the Authority the power to finance non-revenue producing facilities for public institutions, a power that had existed since 1966 for private colleges.
- The expanded powers were necessary to enable the Authority to continue to be the funding source for state college borrowings as they developed under autonomy. It also permitted the Authority in 1989 to finance the matching share contribution that was required of each college participating in the JECA.
- August 3, 1988, James D. Compton was elected Chair.
- The Authority completed its 200th bond issue, a $15,350,000 financing for Jersey City State College (now New Jersey City University).
- February 3, 1993, Linda Lordi Cavanaugh was appointed to serve as the Authority’s second Executive Director.
- Governor Christine Todd Whitman signed Assembly Bill 2351 (P.L. 1993, Chapter 136) that created The Higher Education Equipment Leasing Fund Program. This state-backed bond program authorized the Authority to issue up to $100 million bonds to finance the purchase of equipment to be leased to colleges and universities. Governor Whitman approved an additional $100 million authorization under this program in 2000.
- Governor Whitman signed Assembly Bill 2837 (P.L. 1993, Chapter 375) that created the Higher Education Facilities Trust Fund Act. This state-backed bond program gave the Authority the power to issue up to $220 million bonds to finance academic, research, and communications facilities improvements.
- Governor Whitman signed Senate Bill 1113 (P.L. 1994, Chapter 48) that created the Higher Education Restructuring Act. The Act eliminated the Department of Higher Education and in its place created a non-cabinet level Commission of Higher Education whose primary role was one of advocacy and industry-wide planning and development. It also created the New Jersey Presidents Council to serve in an advisory capacity to the Commission and moved the Authority from being in, but not of, the Department of Higher Education to being in, but not of, the Department of Treasury.
- The Authority exceeded $2 billion in total financings.
- September 14, 1994, Richard Lane Miller was elected to serve as Chair and Rafael Perez, Esq., was appointed to serve as the Authority’s third Executive Director.
- The Authority celebrated its 30th Anniversary and exceeded $2.8 billion in total financings.
- Governor Whitman signed Assembly Bill 3029 (P.L. 1997, Chapter 238) that created the Higher Education Technology Infrastructure Fund Act. This state-backed bond program gave the Authority the power to issue up to $55 million bonds to provide matching grants to public and private colleges and universities for the acquisition of technology infrastructure, interconnectivity among higher education institutions, and non-matching public library grants or for statewide library technology through the New Jersey State Library.
- Governor Whitman signed Assembly Bill 3145 (P.L. 1997, Chapter 360) that created the County College Capital Projects Fund Act. The Act gave the Authority the power to issue up to $140 million bonds to finance capital projects at county colleges as well as to finance the State’s matching share of grants under this state-backed bond program.
- November 12, 1998, Victor Cantillo was appointed to serve as the Authority’s fourth Executive Director.
- The Authority exceeded $3 billion in total financings.
- May 18, 1999, Vivian Altman was elected to serve as Chair.
- Governor Whitman signed Assembly Bill 3078 (P.L. 1999, Chapter 217) that created the Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund Act. This state-backed bond program gave the Authority the power to issue up to $550 million bonds to fund partial grants to 4-year public and private colleges and universities to preserve and enhance their facilities and to invest in their technological infrastructures.
- Governor Whitman signed Assembly Bill 2849 (P.L. 1999, Chapter 184) that created the Public Library Grant Fund Program. The state-backed bond program gave the Authority the power to issue up to $45 million bonds to fund matching grants to public libraries throughout the State for new construction, expansion, rehabilitation and/or acquisition projects.
- The Authority exceeded $4 billion in total financings.
- Governor Whitman signed Senate Bill 891 (P.L. 2000, Chapter 56), that created the Dormitory Safety Trust Fund Act. This Act authorized the Authority to issue up to $90 million state-backed bonds to finance zero and low interest loans for fire suppression systems in student residence buildings at public and private colleges and universities as well as secondary, boarding, and military schools in New Jersey.
- The Authority completed its 300th bond issue, a $51,620,000 financing for Rowan University.
- September 25, 2002, Roger L. Anderson was appointed to serve as the Authority’s fifth Executive Director.
- The Authority exceeded $5 billion in total financings.
- The Authority celebrated its 40th anniversary and set a new record as it topped $1 billion in annual financing for the first time.
- The Authority exceeded $10 billion in total financings.
- The global financial crisis hits. Authority Members authorize Authority staff to restructure each transaction after 17 financings worth $800 million are affected. The Authority provides colleges with option to replace ARS and insured VRDB’s with fixed-rate bonds or other financial structures. Within six months financial restructurings are completed for all affected transactions.
- On March 4, 2009 Roger Jacobs was elected to serve as Chair.
- In the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008, Congress passes the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2009. Three Authority financings in 2010 take advantage of Build America Bonds (BABs) authorized under ARRA. Under the BABs program, qualified governmental issuers can sell taxable bonds for new capital projects and receive a federal subsidy equal to 35 percent of the interest cost.
- The New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act is signed into law. The Act transfers all of UMDNJ’s schools, institutes, and centers with the exception of the School of Osteopathic Medicine and University Hospital to Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. The School of Osteopathic Medicine is transferred to Rowan University, which is also established as a public research university.
- The Building Our Future Bond Act is signed into law and authorizes the issuance of $750 million in general obligation bonds by the State to provide grants for higher education capital projects.
- P.L. 2012, c.42 amends NJEFA’s statute and paves the way for new issuance of bonds to fund grants under the State’s higher education capital grant programs, CIF, HEFT, HETI and ELF.
- The Authority enters a Memorandum of Understanding with the Secretary of Higher Education to assist in the administration of the Building Our Future Bond Act.
- The Authority assists the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education in implementing a Spring 2013 Grant Solicitation Cycle, which makes a total of $1.3 billion available in grant funds to institutions through the Building Our Future Bond Act and the NJEFA’s four state-supported higher education capital grant programs, CIF, HEFT, HETI and ELF.
- The Secretary approves $1.27 billion in grants across all five programs for 176 projects at 46 institutions.
- NJEFA issues bonds to fund grants approved under the CIF, HEFT, HETI and ELF grant programs.
- NJEFA begins administering the grant requisition process for $1.27 billion in project grants under the CIF, HEFT, HETI, ELF and the Building Our Future Bond Act.
- On November 15, 2015 Jeremy A. Spector was appointed to serve as the Authority’s sixth executive director.
- The Authority has a record year of annual issuance and savings in 2016 with $1.35 billion in par financings and net present value savings on refunding activity of $130 million for eight institutions and the State.
- The Authority reaches $16.5 billion in financings for higher education institutions with 505 completed transactions.
- The Authority has a record year of annual issuance and savings in 2017 with $1.42 billion in par financings and net present value savings on refunding activity of $140 million for eight institutions and the State.
- The Authority reaches $17.9 billion in financings for higher education institutions with 512 completed transactions.
- NJEFA’s dedication to New Jersey’s higher education community was reflected in its ranking as the third largest issuer in the State of New Jersey and the fifth largest higher education issuer in the nation.
- January 1, 2018 major tax reform changes take effect, rendering advance refunding transactions obsolete.
- On August 14, 2018 Governor Phil Murphy signed Senate Bill No. 865 expanding the NJEFA's authorization to enter into Public-Private Partnerships.
- On September 10, 2018 Eric D. Brophy Esq. was appointed to serve as the Authority’s seventh executive director.
- On November 27, 2018 NJEFA Board Members voted unanimously to reauthorize and launch NJEFA's Tax-Exempt Leasing Program.