Higher Education Specialists

As sector specialists, North Slope understands the nuances and individual financing needs of higher education. We’re uniquely positioned to provide the university clients with information on developments in higher education finance, new and innovative structuring ideas, peer credit reviews for education institutions across the country and other sector-specific expertise. With over 50 years of combined experience, North Slope has provided financial advisory services on over 150 higher education transactions totaling over $9.3 billion since the inception of the firm in 2008.

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How We’re Different

Well-Worn Trails

North Slope has extensive experience serving public and private higher education clients. We work closely with the rating agencies (Moody’s, S&P and Fitch) on higher education financings nationwide. We stay abreast of changing market conditions, and new and innovative financing tools by advising on a steady flow of bond pricings, bank direct purchases, and derivative transactions. Recently, North Slope has advised on unique “financing firsts” for our clients, including inaugural commercial paper programs, convertible direct-purchase refunding loans, tax-exempt and taxable private placements, and delayed “drawdown” loans to refund bonds ineligible for tax-exempt advance refunding.

Our Services
Where We Work

Cross Country Guides

We’ve serviced a variety of higher education clients across the US.

Map of North Slope Capital Advisors clients in the Higher Education sector.

Notable Higher Education Clients

Of the higher education institutions referenced above, North Slope currently serves 23 higher education clients:

How We Add Value

North Slope believes a collaborative and consistent effort is crucial to maintaining regular and purposeful communication with the rating agencies before, during, and after any financing. North Slope has not only worked with issuers around the country to obtain first-time credit ratings, but we have also advocated for rating upgrades for our clients or, in some cases, worked with our clients to withdraw their rating from an agency. Since a credit rating is a public opinion on the creditworthiness of a borrower, North Slope undertakes a systematic and comprehensive approach to managing the rating process.

1. Meet to Understand Goals

Meet with university leadership and finance professionals to understand institutional near-, medium- and long-term strategic and financial goals.

We start by understanding what our partners’ capital plan goals are, and our experience working with institutions across the county allows us to insightfully share best practices to reach institutional goals efficiently.

2. Evaluate Financial Condition & Debt Portfolio

Complete a comprehensive evaluation of outstanding debt portfolio and financial condition including any loan agreements, bond series, swaps, and related covenants or restrictions.

Once we know what a partner’s goals are, we then turn our attention to understanding what their best financing strategy will be, and that starts with knowing an institutions financial strengths and limitations.

3. Assemble Financing Team

Help assemble a transaction’s financing team by running RFP processes as requested for bond counsel and underwriter.

Our streamlined RFP process saves valuable staff time and our strong connections to top firms ensures our partners can efficiently assemble a talented team to execute on any financing.

4. Collaborate on Rating Strategy

Collaboratively develop and execute a short-term and long-term rating agency strategy.

North Slope tracks rating agency methodology closely, monitoring it for any changes and we regularly refine our internally developed rating tool kit, which allows us to mimic the rating agency approach. After an initial credit evaluation using our internally developed tool kit, we then work with our partners to identify key opportunities for improvement. Finally, we work with our university partners to meet their long-term rating goals and have successfully helped XYZ universities achieve a ratings upgrade.

5. Guide Financing Teams

Guide the financing team comprised of the university leadership, bond counsel, and underwriter through a regular cadence of deliverables up, through, and beyond the closing of any financing.

As requested, we can captain the financing team from the early stages through the finish line of any given financing. We do this by establishing a timeline for each deal, holding regular meetings of the financing team, and ensuring deliverable deadlines are met. After a financing closes, we continue to track on any continuing disclosure requirements and watch the market for cost-saving refunding opportunities.

6. Drive Best Pricing Execution

On the day of pricing, you can be assured that North Slope will drive best pricing execution because we have our fingers on the pulse of the market, the analytical tools in our repertoire, and industry leading experience to advocate for the best cost of capital for our clients.

7. Sustain Partnership

Since our founding in 2008, North Slope has completed 150 higher education financings totaling more than $9 billion in par amount issued. We pride ourselves on becoming long-term collaborative partners with our clients as they execute on a strategic vision supported by an enduring capital plan.

Value-Added in Non-Traditional Capacities

North Slope’s support extends beyond any individual client. For example, North Slope conceived of and ensured the successful passage of the Higher Education Intercept Act in 2008 that delivered a rating ‘upgrade’ for all Colorado’s public universities, resulting in an estimated $100 million in interest cost savings in aggregate to date. Additionally, North Slope testified in 2022 on a successfully passed bill that increased the amount of tuition revenue a public university in Colorado could pledge to bond holders from 10% to 100%.

North Slope has deep experience in swap advisory and can help institutions better understand the value of any potential or existing swap agreement. We have acted in the capacity of a Qualified Independent Representative (QIR) on dozens of swap transactions and stand ready to help clients navigate the derivatives market.


National Association of Health and Educational Facilities Finance Authorities (NAHEFFA) logo.
Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) logo.
National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) logo.
Western Association of College and University Business Officers (WACUBO) logo.

Recent Higher Education Transactions

Auraria Higher Education Center logo.
Auraria Higher Education Center

Loan Modification

University of Denver logo.
University of Denver

Taxable Revenue Refunding Bonds
Series 2021

Colorado State University logo.
Colorado State University System

System Enterprise Revenue Refunding Bonds
Series 2021A and B

St. Olaf College logo.
St. Olaf College

Revenue Bonds
Series 2021

University of Colorado system logo.
University of Colorado System

Revenue and Refunding Revenue Bonds
Series 2021A and B

Macalester College logo.
Macalester College

Revenue Refunding Bonds
Series 2021

Colorado Mountain College logo.
Colorado Mountain College

Certificates of Participation
Series 2021

Colorado Mesa University logo.
Colorado Mesa University

Enterprise Revenue Refunding Bonds
Taxable Convertible to Tax-Exempt
Series 2020A

Fort Lewis College logo.
Fort Lewis College

Enterprise Revenue
Refunding Bonds
Series 2020A-1, B-1, B-2

Colorado State University logo.
Colorado State University

System Enterprise Revenue Bonds
Series 2015A Swap

Metropolitan State University of Denver logo.
Metropolitan State University of Denver

Institutional Enterprise Revenue
Refunding Bonds
Series 2020

University of Colorado system logo.
University of Colorado

Variable Rate Demand Bonds
Series 2020A-1, A-2, B-1

University of Colorado system logo.
University of Colorado

University Enterprise System
Refunding Revenue Bonds
Series 2020B-2

Colorado State University logo.
Colorado State University

System Enterprise Revenue
Refunding Bonds
Series 2020A

Fort Lewis College logo.
Fort Lewis College

Enterprise Revenue
Refunding Bonds
Series 2020A-1, B-1, B-2

Colorado School of Mines logo.
Colorado School of Mines

Institutional Enterprise Revenue
Refunding Bonds
Series 2020

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Plan Your Course

Partner with North Slope for your capital planning needs. Contact us today to get started.