Moody’s assigns Aaa credit rating to University

by Dennis Brown

The University of Notre Dame has retained its longtime Aaa credit rating in the most recent analysis of the University conducted by Moodys Investors Service, an international provider of credit ratings, research and analysis.

Moodys evaluates the credit rating of thousands of for- and not-for-profit organizations worldwide, including colleges and universities. Notre Dame is one of only nine large private schools to receive the firms highest rating, joining Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Rice, Stanford and Yale Universities, Dartmouth College, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Notre Dame first received an Aaa rating from Moodys in 1990 and last was evaluated in 2003.

To compile the report, Moodys analysts visited the campus to meet with the Universitys new president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and members of his administration, and to examine a wide range of issues, including student demand, infrastructure, fund-raising, investment profile and reputation. As a result, John Sejdinaj, vice president for finance at Notre Dame, said the high rating from Moodys is a reflection of both the financial and overall strength of the University.

Fiscal attributes of Notre Dame in the Moodys report include arobust operating performancewithample balance sheet resources driven by superior investment returns and strong fundraising.

From an overall perspective, the evaluation notedNotre Dames clear market niche as an undergraduate focused, academically selective, Catholic university should lead to stable enrollment and strong student demand characteristics.It also cited aconsistent yield rate on admitted applicants,which indicates that Notre Dame is afirst-choice preference for many students.A commitment to keeping the Universitymore affordable for middle-income studentsby increasing endowed scholarships also received praise.

The Moodys analysis was conducted at the Universitys request in advance of a $185 million bond issue and a $75 million commercial paper program.

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