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Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch affirm UMass stable financial condition

BOSTON — Moody’s Investors Service, S&P Global Ratings, and Fitch Ratings have all announced that the University of Massachusetts has retained its strong bond ratings as it continues to finance a capital plan focused on renovation and construction of facilities that are critical to student success on the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, and Medical School campuses.

A December 17 press release issued by Moody’s cited the university's “excellent strategic positioning that incorporates strengthened fiscal oversight” in assigning an Aa2/stable rating.

A December 18 Fitch press release cited the “expectation that UMass' financial profile will remain resilient via steady enrollment trends and a material capital improvement program” in assigning an AA/stable rating.

A December 18 S&P report cited the university’s “enterprise profile as very strong, characterized by growing enrollment, solid demand, and sound management and governance oversight, with comprehensive long-term strategic plans” in assigning a AA-/stable rating.

Each of the ratings, which mirror the previous ratings of the university, identified state support as a positive factor.

“I want to commend our Board of Trustees, finance team and our chancellors for striving every day to maximize the impact of each dollar invested in UMass by the Governor and Legislature, parents, students and donors,” UMass President Marty Meehan said. “We are all committed to identifying new strategies to reduce costs while also boldly acting to generate new revenue to fund the programs and facilities our students deserve.”

“This rating reflects the attention that President Meehan, his management team, and campus chancellors have paid to financial planning and accountability on behalf of the Commonwealth and our 75,000 students,” said UMass Board of Trustees Chair Rob Manning.

The Moody’s report added, “The stable outlook reflects our expectation of continuing steady enrollment and positive operating performance, continued solid state support and growth in financial resources,” and “strong and improved oversight and budgetary controls, as well as cohesive road map strategies are key strengths.”

The university is implementing aggressive and innovative initiatives designed to reduce costs across the system and expand upon its successful shared services initiative. This includes the recent centralization of procurement services, which will save an estimated $16.5 million over the next 18 months.  Over the last five years, efficiency and effectiveness efforts have reduced system-wide costs by $74 million and are expected to save $124 million in total, allowing for the re-allocation of those funds to financial aid, academic enhancements, student support services, and deferred maintenance.

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Contact: John Hoey, 508-264-5920, jhoey@umassp.edu