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Federally backed loan helps Bethune-Cookman University end disastrous residence hall deal

July 6, 2021
A loan program for historically Black colleges and universities will provide the Daytona Beach, Fla., $108 million and help it escape a financing deal that could have caused the school's financial collapse.

Bethune-Cookman University and the developer of a residence hall built in 2016 have settled a long-standing dispute that had threatened to put the 117-year-old Daytona Beach, Fla., school out of existence.

The Daytona Beach News Journal reports that to resolve the situation, university officials signed an agreement to acquire $108 million in financing backed by the federal Department of Education and Rice Capitol. The money is part of a federal loan program for historically Black colleges and universities.

The Thomas and Joyce Hanks Moorehead Residential Life Center cost the university $84 million, some $12 million more than officials had announced. In addition, the terms of the financing would have caused the total cost to balloon to $306 million.

“Ending this deal marks the dawn of a new beginning for B-C,  giving the entire university community and its stakeholders confidence in the future, which now burns very bright," Belvin Perry Jr., chairman of the university's board of trustees, said in a news release.

The federally backed loan will pay off the residence hall note and be used for deferred maintenance of other university property. The loan is for a period of 30 years.

Past leaders of Bethune-Cookman had entered into the residence hall deal; once the university's current leadership became aware of the financially catastrophic terms of the arrangement, they became mired in lawsuits.

"This will settle any lawsuit that was dealing with the dorm deal...and any foreclosure on the lease," Perry said. "It takes care of that."

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