Kent State Receives Positive Bond Ratings With Stable Outlooks

Kent State University administrators are good stewards with university money based in part on a strong financial profile and solid managers, according to two new credit ratings.

Following detailed presentations on the university’s finances to credit rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s Global, Kent State has received positive bond ratings along with a stable outlook for the future by both independent agencies.

Moody’s has given Kent State an A+/Stable Outlook rating, while Standard & Poor’s Global has designated Kent State with an Aa3/Stable Outlook rating. 

“The university obtained updated ratings since we are intending to refinance some existing debt,” said Mark M. Polatajko, Ph.D., Kent State’s senior vice president for finance and administration. “The ratings are provided to the public and potential investors to indicate the ability of the bond issuer to pay the debt. It is like a FICO credit score for an individual. A better rating translates to a lower cost of borrowing.”

Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s Global cited several reasons for a positive outlook for Kent State as an investment grade with low risk:

  • Kent State’s enterprise profile is very strong, characterized by solid retention and matriculation with a large full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment.
  • The university’s financial profile is very strong, characterized by robust and growing available resources and healthy financial policies (high wealth and liquidity/low direct debt). 
  • Its solid management team has demonstrated a willingness to make material cuts in operating expenses in order to insulate the university from the pressures of the pandemic.
  • The university’s recent R1 research university designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is viewed as a positive credit factor.
  • Kent State’s Board of Trustees provides solid governance.

Both agencies also pointed out risks and challenges that require the university’s continued vigilance and dedication to sound fiscal management, including:

  • Unfavorable demographics for graduating high school seniors who are bound for college.
  • The highly competitive Ohio higher education landscape.
  • Enrollment pressures from the pandemic.

“These ratings show investors that the university is financially sound and a low-risk investment, which will draw more investors and drive down the interest cost,” Polatajko said.

For more information about Kent State, visit www.kent.edu.

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Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield, emansfie@kent.edu, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 10:05am
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 10:07am
WRITTEN BY:
Emily Vincent