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
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