Education

S&P Announces Stable Outlook After 4 Years

After four years of negative outlooks, S&P Global has revised its outlook for global nonprofit higher education to stable, the ratings agency announced Thursday.

“Most colleges and universities have successfully responded to the pandemic, with significant help from federal emergency funding and record investment gains in fiscal 2021,” the S&P outlook report states. “A return to on-campus learning in fall 2021 buoyed tuition and auxiliary revenues, but the effectiveness of health and safety measures will be critical to continued in-person learning amid new variants. While financial flexibility has improved, additional risks remain, such as inflation and enrollment pressures.”

Growing state appropriations for higher education, as well as continuing economic recovery in the U.S. and greater financial flexibility for institutions, will support the higher education industry in 2022. At the same time, some institutions with weakened demand or significant budget constraints could risk credit deterioration.

No rated colleges or universities defaulted on their debt during the pandemic, according to S&P.

Last month, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings forecast stable or neutral outlooks for higher education in 2022.

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