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Moody’s upgrades Northeastern’s bond rating to A1

Students walk toward Centennial Common on April 18, 2018. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Moody’s Investors Service announced on Wednesday that it has upgraded Northeastern’s bond rating from A2 to A1, with a “stable” outlook. Moody’s highlighted the university’s strengthening brand, increased enrollment and improved selectivity, track record of operating surpluses, and expanded research enterprise.

“Northeastern University’s (A1 stable) very good credit quality reflects a strengthening market profile and ongoing revenue growth and operating surpluses, supporting both investment in plant and financial reserves,” Moody’s said in a statement Wednesday. “As a large comprehensive urban university with a growing research enterprise, Northeastern has successfully increased enrollment, a key driver of revenue growth, and improved selectivity without relying on increased tuition discounting.”

The upgrade comes as two of the three global credit rating agencies, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, have lowered the overall outlook for higher education institutions from stable to negative.

The A1 rating follows Moody’s upgrade to an A2 “positive” outlook for Northeastern in January 2016. At the time, Northeastern was one of 15 institutions out of the 499 rated by Moody’s to be designated as having a positive outlook.

“This upgrade is much more than a positive financial result,” said Thomas Nedell, senior vice president for finance and treasurer. “The credit rating process is important because it represents a third-party validation of the university’s strategy and execution across many dimensions.”