Moody's Raises Stockton Outlook to 'Positive'
Galloway, N.J. - Moody’s Investor Service has revised Stockton University’s outlook from negative to positive citing the university leadership’s strong budgetary policies, financial monitoring and long-term planning approach.
In its report, Moody’s said the improved outlook reflects “the successful delivery of the Atlantic City expansion and attainment of revenue and enrollment projection during this period of substantial investment and growth.”
It states that the improving credit profile “incorporates the university's growing prominence within the state as a mid-sized regional public institution with diversifying programmatic offerings and broadening demographic reach.”
Stockton President Harvey Kesselman said he is gratified by the confidence shown in the university by Moody’s. He said the revised outlook is significant because Moody’s bypassed “stable” to move the university directly to “positive.”
“It is very satisfying to see that our efforts to improve Stockton’s financial standing have been recognized,” Kesselman said. “Going directly from a negative to a positive outlook is a huge achievement. We appreciate the support we have received from the community and the State and are hopeful that additional State support will be provided to continue with our expansion in Atlantic City. Stockton is growing, and we will continue to plan our expansion in a manner that is fiscally responsible for our students and stakeholders.”
Among the findings in the report are:
- The university’s overall trajectory has improved, including the ability to improve Net Tuition Revenue and continue with positive enrollment growth. Net tuition is exceeding expectation.
- Strong level of support from the State as well as donors is reassuring.
- Stockton's leadership team has a cohesive and well-coordinated forward agenda which, along with a demonstrated record of managing large and complex initiatives with the state, provides a solid foundation for continued growth.
- The successful completion of the Atlantic City campus and sizable investment at the Galloway campus underscores leadership's actively-managed long term planning approach.
- Development of strong budgetary policies and centralized financial monitoring has allowed the university to maintain stable fiscal operations throughout the recent expansionary period.
- Leadership has well-defined strategic priorities that include expanding enrollment and access, strengthening intergovernmental collaboration and resources, improving academic outcomes, and enhancing reporting and board engagement for greater fiscal and operating oversight.
Stockton’s credit rating was affirmed at Baa1. Moody’s notes that the revision to a positive outlook also reflects the potential for additional credit improvement if the university continues to successfully deliver on key priorities
Factors that could lead to an upgrade include continuing to improve revenue growth and financial performance, further commitment from the State of additional capital and financial support for the university's growing operations, and sustained donor support.
# # #