Last week, the University of Montana issued $146.8 million of taxable and tax-exempt bonds. UM Vice President for Operations and Finance Paul Lasiter says UM will usher in a new era of growth and development in support of students.

“Immediately, we have about $60 million that we can invest,” Lasiter said. “Over the course of the next six years, the cashflow savings that we will generate as a result of reducing that annual debt service requirement from about $15 million a year to about $8 million a year, is about $40 million.”

During the next six years, Lasiter says UM will invest about $100 million to improve the campus and services that are offered to students.

“Now we actually have a large war chest of capitol that we can draw from to help make the experience of our students better,” Lasiter said. “We can invest in dorms, dining, campus recreation, differed maintenance projects, and a whole host of things that will make student’s lives better and improve their experience.”

According to Lasiter, UM will also invest in student retention efforts and increased outreach.

“If you look at the actual total revenues for the University of Montana for the last five years or so, revenue has gone up every year,” Lasiter said. “Folks focus on the net tuition problem that we have had recently and that is only one leg of a four-legged stool that really stands to support this institution.”

When it comes to the other three legs, Lasiter believes UM is “crushing it”.

“We have been doing an incredible job in increasing our research expenditures, facilities and administrative support that we get from our research activities,” Lasiter said. “The state of Montana has backed up this institution and maintained or increased appropriations, certainly on a per student basis, for the last several years. Our fundraising efforts have been really fantastic.”

The bonds were UM general revenue bonds issued by the State of Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education. Morgan Stanley led the sale on behalf of the University.