Section 14A. Notwithstanding any special or general law to the contrary, the board of trustees of each institution referred to in this section shall have the authority to enter into such contracts, subject to appropriation, as in their respective judgments are desirable in order to participate in any program established pursuant to this chapter. The Authority shall establish a state colleges and universities participation fund to which shall be credited all state appropriations and other monies made available to the fund. Moneys in the fund may be used solely for the purpose of supporting the participation in the education loan program established pursuant to this chapter of state colleges and institutions under the control of the board of trustees of state colleges, the University of Lowell, the Southeastern Massachusetts University, the University of Massachusetts and the other institutions named in section three of chapter fifteen A. Monies therein may be held in custody by one or more banks or trust companies having a principal place of business in the commonwealth or may be invested in the manner set forth in section eighteen, as the Authority shall determine. Income earned on the fund may be used for any lawful purpose of the Authority. The Authority may pledge all or a portion of the monies or investments which are to be deposited in the fund, or any income therefrom, in furtherance of the purpose for which such fund is created. Such pledge shall be valid and binding as against all parties having claims of any kind against such fund from the time such pledge is made, irrespective of whether such parties have notice thereof.