Standard & Poor's Ratings Services' outlook for the U.S. public higher education sector remains mixed, according to a report released Wednesday.

While demand has held up for public higher education institutions due in part to competitive tuition rates, maintaining this advantage will be key given declining state aid and financial aid pressures, according to the report.

"While the ratios and trends we see within the ratios remain integral to their analysis, given the range of challenges to the sector, the strength of management will be key for institutions' short- and long-term credit prospects," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Blake Cullimore.

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