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HomeNewsMontana NewsS&P Global upgrades Montana State University’s credit rating

S&P Global upgrades Montana State University’s credit rating

BOZEMAN – Citing growing enrollment, increasing research funding and solid financial management, Standard & Poor’s Global upgraded its credit rating for Montana State University last week to AA- with a stable outlook, the highest rating the university has ever achieved.

S&P Global’s announcement, published March 27, said the upgrade from MSU’s prior A+ rating signified the firm’s confidence in the university’s continued stability in the years to come.

S&P looked at MSU’s enterprise and financial risk profiles and rated MSU as “very strong” in both, indicating the firm’s confidence in MSU’s capability to reduce or control various types of risk.

“Montana State University is proud of its financial strength and grateful to the people and policies behind our success,” said MSU President Waded Cruzado. “This upgrade is the result of the hard work of many individuals who work day in and day out across all the MSU campuses to be good stewards of the financial resources made available to us for the benefit of our students.”

“The new rating marks a breakthrough for Montana State,” said Terry Leist, MSU’s vice president of administration and finance. “It reflects our overall financial strength and represents the strong financial position of our four MSU campuses combined.”

Bonds are a means that institutions, like universities, use to borrow money to fund large-scale projects, such as new construction. Bonds are issued and then purchased by investors, who are repaid over time with interest. A credit rating gives potential investors a way to determine the risk level of investing in an institution’s bonds. MSU’s upgraded credit rating indicates MSU is a safer investment.

MSU had been at an A+ rating since 2006, after first achieving an A rating in 2003. The university’s new AA- credit rating will likely result in lower interest rates on future debt it issues, saving money in the long term.

“When we go out into the bond market now, investors will have assurance that MSU has a very strong capacity to meet its financial commitments,” Leist said. “This is a significant accomplishment, recognized by a rigorous third-party verification of the financial health of our university.”

S&P’s rating listed a number of factors that influenced the upgrade. They included MSU’s use of a strategic plan to set institutional goals, its growing reputation as a leading U.S. research university, its consistent student retention rates, healthy annual fundraising, its conservative budgeting, and the stability and capability of its management team under Cruzado.

 

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