A private bidder has offered Ohio State University $483 million in a lump sum for a lease to operate university parking facilities for 50 years.
The Ohio State deal is one of several that the university is pursuing in a drive to build its financial reserves. The university recently sold 100-year bonds, a first for a public university, raising $500 million; it made a $25 million exclusive deal with a local bank for campus A.T.M.'s and other services and is looking into privatizing its airport.
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The money will be used to maintain other transportation services, and for basic university functions like hiring faculty and providing scholarships.
Colleges and universities work with outside businesses to raise money, but a half-century deal with a huge upfront payment is another matter.
"This isn't a conversation that would have taken place 10 years ago," Daniel J. Hurley, director of state relations and policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, told The New York Times. "But state disinvestment in higher education is spurring universities to be more entrepreneurial."
The deal is expected to be formally recommended to the university trustees, who would vote on it on June 22.