USM Maintains Favorable Debt Ratings Despite Challenging Financial Climate in Higher Education

Adelphi, Md. (Jan. 17, 2014) -- The three principal bonds ratings agencies-Standard & Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch-have informed the University System of Maryland (USM) that it will sustain its traditionally strong rating of AA+ with a "stable outlook."

Such a strong evaluation from the three ratings agencies is especially noteworthy in the current economic climate impacting higher education nationally. In official financial evaluations of the higher education landscape generally, the ratings agencies have put colleges and universities on "negative watch" because of declines both in enrollment and federal and state financial support.

In Maryland, Gov. Martin O'Malley, his administration, and the Maryland General Assembly have consistently provided strong financial support for the USM, which has resulted in affordable tuition, increased programmatic support, and the construction of critical capital improvement projects on campuses.

Moreover, the USM's strong bond ratings reflect the careful stewardship of the Office of Finance, led by Joseph Vivona, chief operating officer and vice chancellor for administration and finance.

"These ratings are a great tribute to the Board of Regents' careful oversight of the University System of Maryland's financial affairs, the fiscally responsible leadership at all USM institutions, and the outstanding work of Joe Vivona and his team," USM Chancellor William E. "Brit" Kirwan said.

The prudent management of financial resources helps the USM drive its core missions in teaching and research.

"These strong ratings allow the System to experience a lower cost of issuing debt in the future," Vivona said. "I am greatly appreciative of the work of our team in the Office of Finance. In today's economic climate, such strong bond ratings are increasingly difficult to maintain."


Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719