Standard & Poor's Tuesday revised its outlook to positive from stable on the A rating of Western Kentucky University's 2002 and 2003 consolidated educational buildings revenue bonds.

The university had $225.7 million of fixed-rate, long-term debt outstanding as of June 30, including Series 2006A, 2007A and 2009A general receipt bonds rated A-plus based on Kentucky's intercept program.

"The outlook revision reflects the university's strong operating performance and growing enrollment," said Jessica Lukas, an analyst at Standard & Poor's.

WKU's credit strengths include consecutive operating surpluses and adjusted net income before capital of $20 million for fiscal 2010, financial support from the state representing about 26% of fiscal 2010 revenue, and continued growth in enrollment.

The university had adjusted unrestricted net assets of $81.4 million, equal to 27% of operations and 56% of outstanding debt, and a "manageable" debt burden of 4.6% of fiscal 2010 operating expenses.

Established in 1906 in Bowling Green, WKU draws students primarily from Louisville and central Kentucky counties, as well as some areas of Indiana and Tennessee. It has nearly 21,000 students enrolled in its four campuses.

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