Higher Education

Ballard Spahr's lawyers understand the special legal issues facing colleges and universities, as well as proprietary, post-secondary institutions. We are sensitive to the needs of students, faculty, and the neighborhoods and communities surrounding higher education institutions. We also understand the implications of local, state, and national politics.

Ballard Spahr has served as bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, borrower's counsel, or credit enhancer's counsel in hundreds of bond issues, aggregating billions in transactions involving higher education institutions. These financings have supported the development of campus facilities, hospitals and clinics, research buildings, student housing (both university owned and privatized housing), auxiliary facilities and stadiums located around the country.

The beneficiaries include state university systems, an Ivy League university, academic medical centers, private nonprofit colleges and universities, vocational/technical schools, and private and parochial secondary schools.

We have extensive experience with education-related financings, including: 

  • Representing a university as special counsel in connection with the issuance of tax-exempt debt and other financing arrangements, including assisting with the structuring and coordination of the transaction; negotiating the financing documents with public issuers, underwriters, and credit enhancers; and providing legal advice on the provisions of federal tax and securities law
  • Handling most of the bond work for a state system of higher education, including student loan bonds. We also worked on financing-related matters for a public university and its nonprofit sub-entities and board of regents
  • Representing a large, Washington, D.C.-area university as special counsel in the issuance of tax-exempt debt and other financing arrangements
  • For almost 20 years, served as underwriter's counsel in financings for an internationally prominent research, health care, and educational organization and its affiliates, comprising 15 issues aggregating approximately $1.7 billion. These transactions financed or refinanced the construction of new hospitals, research facilities, clinical facilities and educational facilities in Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Florida. 
  • Acted as bond counsel in connection with the comprehensive restructuring in 2004 and 2005 of approximately $700 million of bonds for a health system composed of an Ivy League medical school, its faculty practice, teaching and research hospitals, and community hospitals
  • Over the last 20 years, served as bond and disclosure counsel to a research and teaching hospital and a health system affiliated with a state university in the western United States for five separate enterprise bond issues with an aggregate principal amount of more than $200 million. We have also served as bond and disclosure counsel to the university in financing a new cancer research facility and a new cancer hospital. Our services with respect to health care financings at the university have included both fixed-rate and variable-rate transactions and swaps. As bond counsel, we provide regular consultations to the university and its hospital system concerning tax-exempt financing requirements, asset sales, leases, private-use issues, and other related matters. 


Kevin R. Cunningham 
Tel 215.864.8507