CHICAGO - Standard & Poor's has revised its outlook on Columbia College Chicago's underlying BBB-plus rating to negative from stable over its operational struggles and management turnover.
"The negative outlook reflects our view of the college's declining enrollment; thinning operating margins -- with an anticipated operating deficit on a full accrual-basis for fiscal 2015 -- and considerable management turnover," said Standard & Poor's analyst Ashley Ramchandani.
The rating is supported by the college's expendable resource levels that are consistent with the rating category and the manageable debt service burden. The report was issued on Jan. 20.
The school in downtown Chicago could experience significant operating pressure over the next few years given its dependence on student related-charges, as well as six years of enrollment declines, minimal admissions flexibility, and higher tuition discounting, the rating agency warned. Operating performance has been a significant factor supporting the rating, and cost-containment measures may be nearing optimization.