MORGANTOWN -- Strong positioning in the state, growing financial resources and effective operating performance have resulted in a positive economic rating for West Virginia University from a leading credit rating firm.
WVU's long-term revenue bonds have been affirmed with an A1 rating by Moody's Investors Services – a financial research and analysis corporation that provides credit ratings for government and private institutions. The rating is a reflection of the University's credit strength, financial condition and ability to pay its outstanding debt.
The report also indicated that the ratings outlook for the University remains stable – an opinion from Moody's that is important for stakeholders.
The University's $220 million series of 2004A, 2004B and 2004C bond funds were awarded the rating in a Jan. 23 update by Moody's. The bonds were issued to generate funds for capital improvements on the WVU campus and the refinancing of existing debt. Projects such as the construction of Lincoln and Ming Hsieh halls and the complete renovation of Brooks, Oglebay and Colson halls were funded by the bonds.
"This is the institutional version of an individual's personal credit score," WVU President Mike Garrison said. "It impacts our ability to issue additional debt to fund projects and factors into the cost of that debt. The stable outlook is important because it indicates that WVU is effectively managing its financial resources, and Moody's believes that we will continue to do so."
WVU Vice President for Administration and Finance Narvel Weese added, "The affirmation of the rating and the stable outlook for the future allow the University to better serve our students, support the University's research agenda and meet the goals stated in the WVU 2010 Plan."
WVU's "strong market position" as the state's flagship and land-grant public university, multiple campus locations and increasing number of out-of-state students are listed as strengths in the report. It also highlights the University's financial resources, ongoing fundraising success and positive operating performance as key reasons for the A1 rating.
Moody's also noted WVU's research enterprise for the diversity in funding, citing a 30 percent growth in research expenditures from 2004 to the current level of $111 million in fiscal year 2007.
Challenges for the University cited in the report include weak demographics within the state coupled with a decrease in the number of high school graduates and an ongoing need to invest in capital expenditures.