S&P upgrades College of DuPage bond rating

Standard & Poor's has revised the College of DuPage bond rating from "AA" to "AA+" and affirmed its rating outlook of "stable" on the college's outstanding general obligation bonds.

The rating agency wrote in its March 12 rationale, "The raised rating reflects the college's continued positive financial operations and its successful implementation of a new governing structure."

"COD has maintained a very strong financial position, despite some turbulence in the last few years," said College of DuPage President Dr. Ann Rondeau. "We are very pleased that Standard & Poor's recognizes the excellent operations at the college and consider it a strong indicator that we are meeting our fiduciary obligations to our students and our taxpayers."

S & P cited the college's:

• Participation in the Chicago metropolitan statistical area's (MSA) deep and diverse economy, with sizable supporting tax base;

• Very strong incomes and extremely strong market value per capita;

• Very strong financial position with very little reliance on the state of Illinois;

• Low to moderate debt burden.

S & P wrote, "Historically, of all the state's community colleges, College of DuPage receives one of the smallest (if not the smallest) percentages of general fund revenue from the state - a notable credit strength in the current state environment."

Earlier this month, Moody's Investors Service affirmed the college's Aa1 rating and shifted its outlook from stable to positive. In its rationale, Moody's, like S & P, cited the college's strong financial operations and leadership.

Moody's wrote, "The positive outlook reflects the removal of the district's accreditation from probation as officials have made progress toward improved governance. Additionally considered is the district's strong financial performance during the state's budget impasse."

College of DuPage Board Chairman Deanne Mazzochi said she's pleased with the positive direction the college has taken to strengthen financial safeguards and implement best practices procedurally throughout the institution.

"On behalf of the board of trustees, I want to thank Dr. Ann Rondeau, Vice President for Administration and Treasurer (CFO) Brian Caputo and his staff for their diligence in holding the college to the strictest standards," said Board Chairman Deanne Mazzochi. "Maintaining our financial credibility is key to moving the college forward, and I am gratified that S & P as well as Moody's recognizes these efforts and the board's commitment to improvements in governance."

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