Northeastern Illinois University has received a three-notch upgrade to its credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service. This marks a significant turnaround in the financial outlook of the University.
“This credit rating upgrade recognizes the hard work, dedication and sacrifice of the Northeastern Illinois University community during a challenging time for higher education in Illinois and throughout the country,” President Gloria J. Gibson said. “The credit rating upgrade is a significant win for the University.”
In particular, Moody’s cited the “notable strengthening” of the University’s balance sheet, and highlighted the University’s strengths in management of operating revenues, expenses and University debt. Federal pandemic relief funds also contributed to the boost.
Moody’s reported total cash and investments for the University were up 30% in Fiscal Year 2021, which is a significant improvement since the record low at the end of Fiscal Year 2017, which was due to the State of Illinois’ budget impasse. Moody’s also believes the outlook for the University's finances is “stable.” The report also noted three factors that could continue to support and upgrade ratings in the future:
- Improvements in the state's fiscal condition over multiple years, resulting in improved state credit quality and an improved operating environment for NEIU
- Significant improvement in strategic position, reflected in enrollment and net tuition revenue growth and less reliance on the state to fund operations
- Continued growth in balance sheet reserves
The NEIU For You scholarship initiative is part of this plan, as it aims to balance the need to stabilize and grow enrollment and strategic investments in the University.
“I would like to thank the Division of Finance and Administration and recognize the success of the University’s financial management strategies,” Gibson said. She continued, “While we celebrate today’s news, we must stay focused on pushing forward and investing in the future of NEIU.”