Grinnell College Retains Highest Possible Credit Rating

January 03, 2017

Two Rating Agencies Affirm the College’s Strength in Advance of a New Bond Issue

Moody's Investors Service announced that it has assigned an “Aaa” rating — the highest possible — to Grinnell College's planned January 2017 issue of approximately $113 million of revenue bonds through the Iowa Higher Education Loan Authority.  In addition to the “Aaa” rating, Moody’s also affirmed a stable outlook for the College.

Similarly, Standard & Poor's Global Rating Service (S&P) also assigned the College its highest rating of “AAA,” with a stable outlook.

Both credit rating agencies also affirmed the “Aaa” and “AAA” ratings on the College's existing revenue bonds.

Proceeds from the Series 2017 bond issue will help finance three strategic campus investment projects, including:

  • Renovation and significant expansion of two existing historical buildings to create a new interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Studies Complex,
  • Design and construction of a new Admission and Financial Aid Center, and
  • Creation and partial implementation of a comprehensive campus landscaping plan.

As stated in the agency reports, the Moody’s and S&P ratings are justified by Grinnell's increasingly strong market demand and geographically diverse student body, as well as its exceptionally large balance sheet reserves, which are largely unrestricted, and extraordinary liquidity relative to debt and operations. Both agencies recognized the importance of the College's strong governance and senior management. Attentive fiscal oversight and focused discipline have driven consistently strong operating performance.

"Achieving the highest possible credit rating from both Moody’s and S&P affirms Grinnell’s exceptional financial strength," says Kate Walker, vice president for finance and treasurer of Grinnell College. "It also recognizes the important role effective leadership and governance play in preserving financial sustainability now and for the long term.

"Grinnell is on a positive trajectory in many ways. Institutional investments guided by our vision and strategic plan position Grinnell for continued success despite the many challenges of today’s highly competitive higher ed landscape," Walker adds. "The credit ratings we've been awarded by Moody's and S&P are a testament to Grinnell’s ability to deliver a quality experience for our students today and for generations to come."