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Moody's affirms UA bond rating, upgrades outlook

12/21/2012

This message by Dr. Proenza was sent to campus on Dec. 21, 2012.

Dear Colleagues,

We end the year with some good news from the investors service, Moody’s, which has affirmed the A1 rating on our bonds, while upgrading our outlook from “negative” to “stable.” Comments from Moody’s in its investor report include recognition of our:

  • Multi-year improvement in operating performance
  • Strong reputation in STEM fields of study and research
  • Large enrollment base driven by strength in engineering, research, health science, nursing and the honors college
  • Healthy cash flow margin in spite of reduced state funding
  • Conservative debt structure

Moody’s acknowledged the challenges and pressures facing our university and higher education, in general, as we all cope with state funding cutbacks, implementation of a funding formula tied to higher retention and graduation rates, and a statewide reduction in the number of high school graduates, creating a more competitive environment.

Moody’s also commented on the challenges we face here at The University of Akron due to our significant level of debt, or a “highly leveraged balance sheet” as we have borrowed to fund our campus expansion and the significant improvements that have made us such an attractive urban campus.

While noting that a drop in enrollment this past year presents financial challenges, Moody’s also comments on efforts to attract more prepared students and provide more degree options to non-traditional students (through weekend and evening courses, for example).

It is gratifying that this respected voice in the investor community recognizes our efforts during the last year to meet increasing financial challenges, strengthen our competitive position by responding to market demands and maintain our prominence among public research universities.

The year ahead will once again test our perseverance and our creativity. We are confident that, together, guided by our strategic plan, we will continue to be successful.
Best wishes to all as we welcome 2013.