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CONGRESS EXPANDS SCHOOLS' ACCESS TO BOND INSURANCE

 CONGRESS EXPANDS SCHOOLS' ACCESS TO BOND INSURANCE
 WASHINGTON, July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Congress has expanded Connie


Lee's ability to insure college bond financings for modern academic facilities and equipment.
 Both the House and Senate have now agreed to legislation permitting the College Construction Loan Insurance Association (Connie Lee) to guarantee bonds of any college not served by other financial guaranty companies. Previously, Connie Lee's bond insurance was restricted entirely to lower investment-grade-rated schools.
 The revised Higher Education Act now authorizes Connie Lee to guarantee up to $600 million for higher-rated schools over a five- year period. President Bush is expected to sign the new Higher Education Act into law.
 Colleges are not familiar credits to many buyers of municipal bonds. Without bond insurance many institutions are unable to issue long-term bonds. Other schools are sometimes forced to pay higher interest rates than issuers of similar credit quality who are in more familiar market sectors.
 Oliver R. Sockwell, president and chief executive officer of Connie Lee, commented: "There is a $100 billion deficit in America's higher education infrastructure. Connie Lee's mission is to help educational institutions access bond financing to rebuild their campuses. This legislation is a victory for the nation's schools and will help to modernize their classrooms, scientific equipment and other academic facilities."
 The University of Scranton (Pa.) is among those higher-rated colleges previously unable to obtain bond insurance from other companies, but was prevented from using Connie Lee. Vice President of Finance and Treasurer David E. Christiansen, detailing the school's plight to get a proposed bond issue insured, stated, "Despite our A- rating from Standard & Poor's, the university was turned down by all five bond insurers," depriving the university "of the benefit of bond insurance." The new provision paves the way for schools like the University of Scranton to be insured by Connie Lee.
 Sockwell said, "Despite the commitment of companies like MBIA and AMBAC, some higher-rated schools are bound to be overlooked for reasons unrelated to credit quality. For example, it is well-known that the availability of bond insurance varies from state to state. This new legislation permits institutions affected by such circumstances to access Connie Lee."
 Connie Lee is legislated by Congress to provide credit enhancement for higher education facilities bonds. It is the only financial guarantor that exclusively insures and reinsures bonds issued by colleges, universities and teaching hospitals. Shareholders include the U.S. Department of Education and a consortium of major private institutions and investors.
 -0- 7/9/92
 /CONTACT: Irene E. Lombardo of Connie Lee Insurance Company, 202-728-3447/ CO: Connie Lee Insurance Company ST: District of Columbia IN: INS SU: LEG


MH -- DC022X -- 8043 07/09/92 17:20 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 9, 1992
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