Higher Education Finance is one of our core specialty banking practices and we are proud of the diverse group of over 200 public and private higher education clients we serve. Our team delivers a full complement of products and services, local expertise, and exceptional service and execution to college and university clients nationwide. The projects that we have financed range from academic and research buildings, to student and athletic facilities to technology and infrastructure improvements. Our team includes specialists in privatized student housing, asset monetization, mergers and acquisitions, and other public/private partnership opportunities.

Areas of Expertise

We are a leading underwriter to the sector. Our core capabilities include traditional general receipts revenue bonds, corporate CUSIP transactions, certificates of participation, auxiliary revenue bonds and project based financings. Additionally, our team was instrumental in developing the privatized student housing financing model currently being used throughout the industry.

  Debt Capital Markets & Corporate Banking

  • Tax-Exempt Bond Underwriting (U.S.)
  • Corporate CUSIP
  • Private Placements
  • Corporate Banking and Syndicated Credit
  • Derivative Structuring and Strategies

Case Study

 Privatized Higher Education

  • Student Housing
  • Academic Buildings
  • Research Facilities
  • Athletic Facilities and Stadiums
  • Other Auxiliary Facilities

Case Study

 Asset Monetization

  • Utility infrastructure
  • Asset Sale and Sale-Leaseback Strategies
  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Student Housing

Case Study


  • Debt portfolio structure and liquidity strategies
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Affiliation advisor to higher education institutions seeking partnerships
  • Strategic advisor to bondholders of distressed higher education institutions
  • Solicitation of Equity Capital

Debt Capital Markets & Corporate Banking | Case Study

ESG: Powering sustainable business models in Higher Education

Public and Not-for-profit (NFP) universities and colleges are turning to the bond market to support business model growth in the age of low interest rates. But sustainable bonds also offer new opportunities to meet investor demand, and environmental and social commitments, for ESG-conscious institutions.

Privatized Higher Education | Case Studies


Student Housing Revenue Bonds (University of Hawai’i Foundation Project)
Senior Series 2021A-1 (Tax-Exempt), Senior Series 2021A-2 (Taxable), Subordinate Series 2021B (Tax-Exempt)


Lease Revenue Bonds (Provident Group – Flagship Properties L.L.C.)
Louisiana State University Nicholson Gateway & Greenhouse District Projects
Series 2016A Taxable Series 2016B, Series 2017 and Series 2019A and Taxable Series 2019B


Academic Facilities Lease Revenue Bonds (Provident Group-UIUC Properties LLC – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Project)
Series 2019A & Taxable Series 2019B

Asset Monetization | Case Study

RBC Capital Markets served as Advisor to the Educational Advancement Fund for the Disposition of the University Center of Chicago


Monetization of Student Housing, Conference Center and Classroom Facility in Chicago’s inner loop


Investment Banking Advisor to the Educational Advancement Fund


Transaction Highlights

  • On July 20, 2017, RBCCM completed a unique investment banking / strategic advisory assignment for the Educational Advancement Fund (the “EAF”) – a non-profit organization jointly created by DePaul University, Roosevelt University and Columbia College Chicago for the purpose of financing, constructing, operating and maintaining the University Center Chicago (the “UCC”)
    • UCC is a ~1,700 bed student housing, conference and retail facility in Chicago’s inner loop, established for the purpose of housing students from the three academic institutions and advancing their educational mission
    • The UCC was financed with $151 million in tax-exempt bonds in 2002 (ratings of Baa2 Moody’s / BBB Fitch), which were subsequently restructured in 2006, and were outstanding in the amount of $126.725 million and currently callable
  • RBCCM conducted extensive valuation analysis of the asset and recommended pursuing the sale process through which the UCC will be monetized through sale to a qualified investment party
    • RBCCM is serving as advisor to the Educational Advancement Fund, in partnership with the broker CB Richard Ellis
  • In the concession, member institutions of the EAF have entered into master lease agreements for a defined number of beds, with a predetermined rate of rent increase, in exchange for the purchase price of the UCC
  • Purchase price will be netted against the outstanding debt, resulting in distributions to the member institutions to enhance their educational mission
    • In the dissolution of the debt, certain reserve funds in excess of $20 million will also be released back to the member institutions
    • –Distributions to member institutions will be utilized to reduce deferred maintenance on other campus facilities, as well as for academic programming, research and student scholarships
  • RBCCM’s engagement included an analysis of the underlying bond documents, covenants and market conditions to determine the viability of a sale and debt defeasance, detailed work with the three member institutions to determine their objectives in a sale and participation in an ongoing master lease, preparation of offering documents and negotiations with potential counterparties
  • The transaction closed July 20, 2017, with a sale price of $201 million paid to the Educational Advancement Fund

Disclaimer (USA)

RBC Capital Markets, LLC (“RBCCM”), seeks to serve as an underwriter on a future transaction and not as a financial advisor or municipal advisor. The information provided is for discussion purposes only in anticipation of being engaged to serve as an underwriter. The primary role of an underwriter is to purchase securities with a view to distribution in an arm’s-length commercial transaction with the issuer. The underwriter has financial and other interests that differ from those of the Issuer. RBCCM is not recommending an action to you as the municipal entity or obligated person. RBCCM is not acting as an advisor to you and does not owe a fiduciary duty pursuant to Section 15B of the Exchange Act to you with respect to the information and material contained in this communication. RBCCM is acting for its own interests. You should discuss any information and material contained in this communication with any and all internal or external advisors and experts that you deem appropriate before acting on this information or material.


This presentation was prepared exclusively for the benefit of and internal use by the recipient for the purpose of considering the transaction or transactions contemplated herein.  This presentation is confidential and proprietary to RBC Capital Markets, LLC (“RBCCM”) and may not be disclosed, reproduced, distributed or used for any other purpose by the recipient without RBCCM’s express written consent.

By acceptance of these materials, and notwithstanding any other express or implied agreement, arrangement, or understanding to the contrary, RBCCM, its affiliates and the recipient agree that the recipient (and its employees, representatives, and other agents) may disclose to any and all persons, without limitation of any kind from the commencement of discussions, the tax treatment, structure or strategy of the transaction and any fact that may be relevant to understanding such treatment, structure or strategy, and all materials of any kind (including opinions or other tax analyses) that are provided to the recipient relating to such tax treatment, structure, or strategy.

The information and any analyses contained in this presentation are taken from, or based upon, information obtained from the recipient or from publicly available sources, the completeness and accuracy of which has not been independently verified, and cannot be assured by RBCCM.  The information and any analyses in these materials reflect prevailing conditions and RBCCM’s views as of this date, all of which are subject to change. 

To the extent projections and financial analyses are set forth herein, they may be based on estimated financial performance prepared by or in consultation with the recipient and are intended only to suggest reasonable ranges of results.  The printed presentation is incomplete without reference to the oral presentation or other written materials that supplement it.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: RBCCM and its affiliates do not provide tax advice and nothing contained herein should be construed as tax advice.  Any discussion of U.S. tax matters contained herein (including any attachments) (i) was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by you for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties; and (ii) was written in connection with the promotion or marketing of the matters addressed herein.  Accordingly, you should seek advice based upon your particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

Strategic Advisory Case Study Case Study

Fast Facts: Higher Education Finance Group

  • Dedicated higher education coverage nationwide
  • Perennially a top-ranked higher education lead manager
    of negotiated issues
  • Ability to provide credit and liquidity facilities, direct purchases and derivative products directly from a stable and highly rated counterparty
  • Specialists in select product areas, including privatized student housing, asset monetization, and mergers and acquisitions

Our Team

Christopher Good

Higher Education & Nonprofits


Christopher is a Director and Co-Head of the Higher Education and Nonprofit Group at RBCCM, with public sector investment banking experience providing debt capital markets, derivative, corporate banking and strategic solutions to education banking, health care and not-for-profit organizations. He has completed financings and strategic assignments for a wide range of public and private education institutions and academic medical centers in the United States. Additionally, Christopher has a special focus in the monetization of education banking infrastructure through public-private partnerships as well as hybrid financing solutions for education institutions, including mergers and affiliations, international partnerships and debt restructuring.

Christopher holds a B.A. in Economics from Miami University and an M.P.A. in Public Finance from the University of Pennsylvania. He holds the Series 7, 63 and 79 securities licenses.

Pat Russell

Higher Education & Nonprofits


Pat is a Managing Director and Co-Head of the Higher Education and Nonprofit Group at RBCCM. He has over 30 years of investment banking experience, with the majority of his career being focused on higher education. Pat has extensive experience providing financing solutions to a wide range of public and private colleges and universities, as well as non-profit organizations. Prior to joining RBC Capital Markets, Pat served as the Head of Higher Education and Nonprofit at Wells Fargo Securities. During Pat’s time at Wells Fargo, the team consistently served as Top 5 underwriter of higher education debt nationally.

Pat holds a B.A. from Brown University and Series 7, 24, 53, and 63 securities licenses.

Michael Baird

P3 Higher Education


Michael  is a Managing Director and the Co-Head of the P3 Higher Education Group of RBC Capital Markets. He joined the firm in 2003, when he opened our Baltimore investment banking office and started our P3 Higher Education practice. Mr. Baird specializes in structuring innovative solutions to meet the specific needs of our higher education clients. He has extensive experience financing and refinancing various project-based funding programs, including all types of taxable and tax-exempt, fixed and variable rate structures. He has also developed an expertise in structuring project specific programs utilizing such techniques as net lease financing and various privatization models.

Michael has an MBA and a BBA in Finance from Loyola University Maryland. He is a Municipal Bond Principal and has his Series 7, 50, 53 and 63 registrations.

Sara Russell

P3 Higher Education


Sara is a Managing Director and Co-Head of our P3 Higher Education Group of RBC Capital Markets, LLC. Her responsibilities include providing investment banking and advisory services related to the issuance of tax-exempt and taxable bonds for a variety of municipal finance and non-profit clients. She has a specialty focus in the higher education sector and significant expertise in the financing of public-private partnerships, particularly privatized student housing. Building on her quantitative background, Ms. Russell has developed an expertise in negotiating and executing a variety of financing structures, including fixed and variable rate bonds, credit enhanced issues, public offerings and private placements for general obligation, revenue bond, lease-backed and project finance transactions, as well as debt restructurings. She also has experience with restructuring and workout transactions, working on engagements on behalf of borrowers and bondholders.

Sara graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame of Maryland University with a degree in finance and economics and holds her FINRA Series 7, 50 and 63 securities licenses.

Liz Baker Kalaris



Liz is a Director in the Higher Education and Nonprofit Group at RBCCM. She has over 11 years of investment banking experience, and has worked on complex debt capital markets financings for some of the nation’s leading higher education institutions. Prior to joining RBCCM, Liz was a Director in the Higher Education and Nonprofit Group at Wells Fargo Securities from. Liz started her finance career in Morgan Stanley’s Corporate Debt Capital Markets Group within Global Capital Markets in 2011, focusing on interest rate derivatives and corporate investment grade debt. Before entering investment banking, Liz was a high school mathematics teacher at a public charter school in Washington DC.

Liz holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Georgetown University and Series 7, 52, 53, 63, and 79 securities licenses. Liz lives in Washington DC with her husband Andrew and daughter Lucy.

Paul Clancy



Paul is a Director in the West Conshohocken (PA) Municipal Finance office of RBC Capital Markets and is an investment banker with the firm’s Higher Education and Nonprofit Group and Charter School Finance Group. Mr. Clancy joined RBC Capital Markets in 2008 and has over thirty years of municipal finance experience as a banker and advisor. He works with a wide range of clients throughout the Middle Atlantic and Northeastern United States, including public and private colleges and universities, public charter schools, independent schools, and other educational institutions.

Mr. Clancy holds a BA from Lafayette College and an MBA in Finance from Villanova University. He holds Series 7, Series 50, Series 53, Series 63 and Series 65 securities licenses.