Moody's Praises University Of Illinois Finances, But Also Issues Warnings

Sep 22, 2016

  The University of Illinois has received a relatively glowing financial report from Moody's Investor Service, but it comes with some caveats.  

The firm credits U of I leaders for having bolstered the school's balance sheet. The report says the school's brand and diverse revenue base -- for example, high demand from international students -- add credit stability that's helped to cushion state funding blows.  This includes the current budget impasse, which has resulted in public universities going nearly a year without funding.  

However, Moody's analysts say U of I's three campuses collectively enroll the most international students of any university in the U.S.  This, they say, makes Illinois vulnerable to future government policy changes or restrictions.  

The analysts also say there would be a large financial burden if if state government ceases paying for university pensions.    

Finally, Moody's warns that, in the long term, the state budget situation would hurt U of I's ability to "compete for top tier faculty."