Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed Roosevelt University’s Baa2 rating, but analysts revised the outlook to negative from stable, partly because of  recent enrollment challenges and stagnant tuition growth.

The action affects $232 million of rated debt. Analysts said the rating reflects the Chicago school’s “balanced operations, with adequate debt service coverage and growing financial resources and healthy monthly liquidity.”

Challenges that led to the negative outlook include its elevated level of debt relative to its balance sheet and operating base, along with enrollment struggles that have led to deeper tuition discounting.

Preliminary fiscal 2011 figures show net tuition per student was down to $17,817 from $17,959 in fiscal 2008. The university has total direct debt of $248 million, with expendable financial resources providing just 0.27 times coverage of it.

The university faces a competitive environment in the Chicago area, and enrollment has declined in education and some other programs.

Officials said they believe growth in a new pharmacy program should improve revenues.

The school has 4,766 full-time students. Other positive factors include a history of balanced operations, adequate cash flow to support debt repayment, and a conservative debt structure with no new debt planned.

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