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Moody's upgrades UM's status to 'stable,' reaffirms Aa1 rating; credits strong, continuous leadership and ability to execute strategic initiatives


Christian Basi

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Officials from Moody’s Investors Service announced today they were changing the University of Missouri System’s outlook from “negative” to “stable” and reaffirmed the university’s Aa1 rating. 

According to Moody’s, the change was made because of strong leadership continuity at the UM System and the four universities, improved strategic positioning, and the System’s ability to execute on initiatives that address ongoing enrollment and funding challenges affecting higher education institutions across the country.

“This is fantastic news and demonstrates the quality of leadership that we have guiding the state of Missouri’s largest public university,” said Jon Sundvold, chair of the UM Board of Curators. “I’m especially grateful to President Mun Choi, Vice President for Finance Ryan Rapp, campus leadership and the team at MU Health Care. They have worked exhaustively on holding the institution to high standards and being accountable to the entire state. This has set us on a great path for the future.”

Specifically, Moody’s stated in a release that the stable outlook reflected their expectations of continued strong fiscal stewardship and positive operating performance at the university. The rating recognizes the University of Missouri System as an “essential provider of education and research within the State of Missouri as well as a critical health care and medical training provider within the greater mid-Missouri region.”

“My thanks goes to the leadership teams across the System — especially Ryan Rapp and the finance team — and MU Health Care that have worked so hard to make this happen,” Choi said. “We are pleased Moody’s has reaffirmed its credit rating of Aa1 and appreciate the upgrade from negative to stable outlook as this classification puts us among the top 10% of public higher education institutions rated by the agency.”

This past October, S&P Global Ratings, the nation’s other premier credit rating service reaffirmed its high-grade rating of AA+ for the university with a stable outlook. That rating places the UM System among the top 10% of all public higher education institutions rated by S&P.

“The current ratings from both agencies continue to place the UM System among an elite group of peer and aspirant institutions,” Choi said “The system and campus leaders have developed transformative and strategic plans to meet our mission to achieve excellence in research, teaching and outreach, and I am confident the university is poised for continued success.” 


Reviewed 2019-12-04