Moody’s Investors Service Upgrades UNCW Bonds

Monday, May 23, 2016

Moody’s Investors Services has upgraded the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s bonds and gave the university a stable outlook, according to a report released May 18.

UNCW’s important role as a favorably located public university and member of the UNC system, a track record of state support, growing financial reserves and overall strengthening student demand were factors in the new rating, the report states.  

“The Moody's rating action is a significant milestone in UNCW's financial history and an independent indicator to the global investing community of its credit worthiness,” said Rick Whitfield, vice chancellor of business affairs. “The timing of this outcome is of particular importance as we are preparing for a refinancing of existing debt.”
To achieve an upgrade in rating takes years of effort and collaboration among division staff within the university, Whitfield noted. “With the continuous strengthening of our financial and operational metrics and Chancellor Sartarelli's strategic vision for UNCW, we reached the tipping point for this upgrade. It is an exciting time to be at UNCW.”
The university’s $14 million general revenue bonds and $21 million Series 2010D pool revenue bonds were upgraded to Aa3 from A1. Its $118 million rated outstanding limited obligation bonds and Certificates of Participation were also upgraded to A1 from A2, according to Moody’s report. The investors service also assigned an A1 to the proposed $58 million in Refunding Limited Obligation Bonds, Series 2016.

The stable outlook reflects the expectation that UNCW will maintain strong student demand and state support as well as ongoing financial reserve growth, the report states.

--Venita Jenkins