UNE receives upgraded credit rating from Moody’s, advances to A2

Hundreds of school counselors and education professionals will come to UNE's Biddeford Campus for the NEACAC conference
The credit rating agency pointed to UNE’s “very good financial policy and strategy" and “exceptional budget discipline” as factors in upgrading the University's status.

The University of New England has received an upgraded rating from Moody’s Investors Service, elevating the University’s credit rating from A3 to A2 with a “stable” financial outlook.

According to Moody’s latest credit report, the upgrade reflects UNE’s “excellent operating performance and diverse academic offering[s] within high-demand disciplines across undergraduate and graduate programs,” while the University’s financial outlook “reflects expectations of continued strong operating performance, despite student market challenges, and healthy reserves relative to debt and expenses.”

The agency also pointed to UNE’s “very good financial policy and strategy,” supported by “exceptional budget discipline,” that has generated “very healthy” financial margins over a multiyear period.

“Between the pandemic, economic uncertainty, and declining enrollment across the nation, the past several years have been particularly difficult for institutions of higher education,” said UNE President James Herbert. “Instead of shying away from these challenges, UNE has worked to overcome them to emerge financially stronger than ever before, even bringing in our largest-ever undergraduate class in 2022. This upgraded credit rating from Moody’s reflects that work and is a testament to the financial vitality of our institution.”

Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Phil Shapiro agreed, saying the upgrade from A3 to A2 reflects UNE’s sound budgeting practices, strategic enrollment management, and robust operating performance. “UNE is well positioned for the future,” remarked Shapiro, who in his time as interim senior vice president led several initiatives to position UNE for continued financial success.

The Moody’s report listed several of UNE’s institutional assets, including consistent student desire for high-demand programs, strong debt affordability, market distinction among academic programs, and strong brand identity and strategic positioning.

Moody’s also acknowledged UNE’s largest freshman class as a factor in rebuilding enrollment post-pandemic, and the agency wrote that UNE’s construction of the Harold and Bibby Alfond Center for Health Sciences — the new home of the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine — will serve to “strengthen the University's academic brand and offer opportunities to expand high-demand programs.”