Wright State’s financial rating improves for second straight year

Wright State University’s credit rating has been upgraded for the second year in a row, aligning its credit rating closer to other local universities.

Moody’s, which provides international financial research on bonds issued by commercial and government entities, announced Tuesday it has given Wright State an A2 rating, upgraded from an A3 rating in 2023 and a Baa1 rating in 2021, In 2017, the university held a Baa2 rating.

“We are excited about the significant movement we have made by focusing on regional partners to further expand the opportunities for a quality education and upward mobility for our students,” said Wright State chair of the board of trustees Tom Gunlock.

Miami University had an Aa3 rating as of March, according to the university, which is a higher rating than Wright State. University of Dayton reported an A2 rating in the 2022-2023 school year.

“Moody’s has acknowledged the long-term planning by management to align our campus footprint to enrollment and how Wright State continues to move in the right direction,” said Greg Sample, Wright State’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

In 2017, the university faced significant financial problems, and there was discussion that the public university could be placed on fiscal watch. The university conducted layoffs in 2018 and cut faculty positions in 2021.

Moody’s said that Wright State’s “good brand and strategic positioning” reflects its important role as a large public university serving southwest Ohio. Moody’s cited Wright State’s increase in student enrollment in the fall of 2023 as “recent investments in various student-centered initiatives took effect.”

Like many other higher education institutions, Wright State has seen a decline in enrollment, though last fall had a small increase. Significantly less students are now attending university because there are fewer people who are in the 18–24-year-old age group now compared to 10 years ago.

Wright State also announced some cuts earlier this year. As part of that plan, WSU will “deactivate” 34 lesser-used degree-bearing academic programs as part of its ongoing Academic Efficiency and Effectiveness review, university officials said.

The programs affected are a mix of associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree tracks, across engineering, foreign language, science, education and other fields.

However, a group of students has pushed back on the proposal. Stop 2020 has started a petition for Wright State administrators to change their minds about the program cuts.

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