The University of Pennsylvania can add another distinction to its rich history: the cheapest borrowing rate on a century bond for any nongovernment issuer. Last week, it sold $300 million of bonds yielding 4.674% and maturing in September 2112—a date that not only its trustees but even freshmen are unlikely to see.
The financial coup is appropriate for a school that has a who's who of Wall Street, including "junk"-bond king Michael Milken, among the alumni of its Wharton School. MIT and Caltech also issued century bonds recently, but these were priced at slightly higher yields.
Perhaps the cachet of an Ivy League and America's fourth-oldest university inspires more investor trust. If so, Britain's Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, no slouches themselves and at least three times as old as Penn, should consider selling bonds maturing in the 24th century.