University of Missouri System officials are happy about getting good marks from Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings regarding the university’s financial future.
The credit rating service on Wednesday announced the four-campus system’s AA+ credit rating and returned the outlook for its overall credit rating to “stable.”
S&P’s opinion came after analysts held in-depth briefings with university leaders about the future of the institution. The report also affirmed a stable outlook rating for the system from Moody’s Investors Service last July.
Last year at this time, S&P issued a poor rating for the UM System. It was based primarily, university officials said, on the turmoil that followed racially fueled student protests in November 2015 — the resignations of the system president and the chancellor of the flagship campus, an enrollment drop, and threatened funding cuts.
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The AA+ rating is the second-highest long-term credit rating given out to institutions by S&P.
“Moving from negative to stable is a huge victory,” said Kelly Wiemann, a university system spokeswoman.
A UM System statement said the rating from S&P and Moody’s “keeps the UM System among an elite group of aspirant institutions.” Less than 10 percent of the public institutions rated fall within both rating services’ top two rating categories.
Although the Columbia campus has recently seen a dip in enrollment, the S&P report pointed to — among other things — historically stable-to-growing enrollment across all four campus as a plus toward its stable rating.
“S&P’s affirmation accurately reflects the hard work of our campuses and health system to serve the citizens of Missouri through research, teaching and outreach and is welcome news,” said UM System President Mun Choi.
Choi credited the former interim system president, Mike Middleton, and the board of curators for securing the stability of the university and enabling it “to maintain its solid financial footing.”