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UM System maintains strong ratings from top credit-rating agencies


Christian Basi

Moody’s and Standard & Poor highlight strong financial stewardship systemwide.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Highlighting the University of Missouri System’s strong financial management, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings both have affirmed the system’s high-grade credit rating and stable outlook.

Moody’s affirmed the UM System’s Aa1 rating and cited its good revenue diversity and substantial economies of scale, noting its consistently favorable operating performance. Standard & Poor’s affirmed the UM System’s AA+ rating, listing its “extremely strong” enterprise risk profile, characterized by solid full-time enrollment, healthy retention and above-average student quality.

“The UM System continues to thrive," said Robin Wenneker, chair of the UM Board of Curators. “This excellent news demonstrates that Moody's and S&P are acknowledging our solid financial position too. The Board is appreciative of the support our fellow Missourians provide to the UM System, and we thank our leadership team for their diligence and commitment to delivering our best to our fellow citizens.”

Maintaining the second-highest credit rating offered by each agency keeps the UM System among an elite group of aspirant institutions. Fewer than 10% of the public institutions rated fall within both rating services’ top two rating categories.

“These strong credit ratings reflect our commitment for stewarding the resources we receive from Missourians to achieve excellence and impact for the state,” University of Missouri President Mun Choi said. “Our four universities and MU Health Care are thriving and well positioned to continue delivering on our mission of student success, research breakthroughs and meaningful engagement.”

UM System Executive Vice President for Finance and Operations and Chief Financial Officer Ryan Rapp said the decisions acknowledge the UM System’s commitment to excellent financial stewardship and strategic investment in infrastructure to grow research, enhance learning and improve health care delivery. “These ratings recognize the hard work of our universities and our health care system,” he said.

In its report, Moody’s says the UM System’s credit quality incorporates its regionally important role as a large provider of public health education and health care. The report continues: “Strong financial management along with good revenue diversity and substantial economies of scale will contribute to the maintenance of favorable operating results and excellent debt affordability. Significant financial resources will continue to support solid coverage of both adjusted debt and operating revenue.”

S&P’s report cites the UM System’s solid and improving health care operations, growing financial resources, and a low debt burden. The agency said its rating reflects the university’s position as Missouri’s flagship, land-grant university, healthy financial resource ratios and “very manageable maximum annual debt service (MADS) burden.” Such factors led S&P to conclude that “the university will sustain its strong demand characteristics, diversified revenues, and solid operations and financial resource ratios” over the next two years.

Reviewed 2024-01-08