Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed Saint Mary’s Baa1 rating and upgraded its outlook from negative to stable. “An upgrade in outlook is significant as Moody’s has the entire education sector under a negative outlook,” said Pete Michell, vice president for finance. The credit rating service cited as strengths SMC’s regional reputation and attractive location, leading to solid overall enrollment growth; strong growth in net tuition per student, which reflects favorable student demand; and proactive financial management that has lead to consistently positive operations with strong debt service coverage and reduced draws on lines of credit.
“I am pleased that Moody’s has acknowledged the progress the College has made on several fronts,” Michell said. And while Saint Mary's is bucking the trend in higher education, there remain challenges ahead, including the highly competitive marketplace and the Colleges dependence on student charges (89 percent of total revenue). The College also could further improve its rating with growth in financial resources through operations or gifts.