Wright State gets an upgrade in finance rating


FAIRBORN — A national bond credit company has upgraded Wright State University’s credit rating and revised its financial outlook from “negative” to “stable.” The institution says the decision is a “significant recognition of the financial stewardship and future direction of Wright State University and increased confidence in the university.”

Moody’s Investors Service, which provides international financial research on bonds issued by commercial and government entities, announced in a May 14 release that it has given Wright State the Baa1 rating, an upgrade from the Baa2 rating the university received in 2017.

Moody’s said the improved rating was driven by a fundamental strengthening of Wright State’s financial performance and balance-sheet position despite continued highly pressured revenue conditions.

WSU executed a “large-scale right-sizing” of expenses in response to declining revenue, the university said. These financial constraints were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February, the Wright State board of trustees approved the retrenchment of 113 faculty positions. Nearly half the job cuts are from the College of Liberal Arts. The second highest school affected is the College of Science and Mathematics. The School of Nursing and Health Sciences, the Boonshoft School of Medicine, and faculty positions at the Lake Campus are unaffected.

The university does expect financial growth in fiscal year 2021, officials said.

“The ratings upgrade signals the strength of Wright State University’s future,” said Greg Sample, Wright State’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Moody’s has acknowledged the specific management actions being taken to stabilize the university’s operating infrastructure and position it for success in the future are moving in the right direction.”

The university has earmarked an additional investment of $1 million for student enrollment and retention efforts and has developed aggressive institutional marketing plans.

“The announcement by Moody’s affirms the direction Wright State is heading under the strong and stable leadership of President Edwards and her team,” said Tom Gunlock, chair of the Wright State Board of Trustees. “We are excited about what’s ahead and look forward to serving our students and the region in the years to come.”

London Bishop

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Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.

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