Moody’s Investors Service has placed the Aa2 long-term bond ratings of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, under review for possible downgrade.
The rating action affects about $1.3 billion of general obligation bonds, certificates of participation, lease revenue bonds, and charter school project bonds.
Moody’s bases the Aa2 rating on the university’s strong credit position as the state’s largest and most research-intensive public university with growing enrollment and revenues, as well as its positive operating performance and cash flow.
“Resolution of the review will be based on assessment of the university’s expected defeasance of approximately $450 million of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s debt, updated plans to finance capital projects, and the amount and method of payment for expenses related to acquisition of UMDNJ components,” analysts said in a report.
Earlier this year Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation to integrate UMDNJ, which Moody’s rates Baa1, into Rutgers.
Moody’s said the review could take more than 90 days because the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act does not take effect until July 1. The act dictates the transfer of most of the existing UMDNJ to Rutgers and the university’s plans may not be finalized until closer to that date.