UNCW Bucks Higher Education Trend, Receives Positive Outlook from Moody's Investor Service

Monday, January 13, 2014

The University of North Carolina Wilmington has received a revised outlook from Moody’s Investor Service from “stable” to “positive,” the University announced today. Moody’s recently released their “2014 Outlook for U.S. Higher Education,” which offers an overall negative outlook for the education sector based upon concerns regarding slow-growing revenue, heightened competition and declining governmental funding.

After a recent meeting with UNCW's leadership team, the credit rating agency has announced that UNCW’s sustained enrollment growth, improved financial resources, and favorable operating performance resulted in the revised outlook, with an affirmation of their already existing A1 underlying rating on their General Revenue Bonds and an A2 rating on the university's Certificates of Participation. Moody’s evaluation was based in part on UNCW's student demand, revenue sources, and debt information.

“This is a strong affirmation of our financial leadership team and our commitment to being a leader in higher education financial management in these transitional times,” said UNCW Chancellor Gary L. Miller.

Outlook assessment is based on several factors including leadership management, vision, enrollment growth, and value proposition. UNCW’s enrollment has grown 16 percent since 2009. Fall 2013 marked the largest class in the school’s history. Operating performance have also improved with operating cash flow at 12.5 percent in the 2013 fiscal year, versus at 6.9 percent in the 2009 fiscal year.

“We are particularly pleased with this new outlook given today’s economic climate and Moody's prediction for higher education as a whole,” said Charles Maimone, Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs at UNCW. “This is affirmation of our commitment to effective resource management; we take that obligation to our students, the public and investors very seriously and are gratified to see it recognized in this way. We value Moody's position and we expect that these same determining elements will continue to strengthen in the coming 18-24 months.”

According to Moody’s, the existing A1 General Revenue and A2 COP ratings “reflects the university's growing prominence within the University of North Carolina System with a history of substantial state support and multi-year improvement in operating performance and financial resources.”

The University of North Carolina Wilmington, the state’s coastal university, is dedicated to learning through the integration of teaching and mentoring with research and service. A public institution with nearly 14,000 students, the university is widely acknowledged for its superb faculty and staff and a powerful academic experience that stimulates creative inquiry, critical thinking, thoughtful expression and responsible citizenship. With an array of high-quality programs at the baccalaureate and master’s levels, and doctoral programs in marine biology and educational leadership, UNCW is continuously recognized at a national level for academic excellence and affordability. UNCW is dedicated to offering a community rich in diversity and inclusion, global perspectives, and enriching the quality of life through scholarly community engagement in such areas as health, education, the economy, the environment, marine and coastal issues, and the arts.