Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it has lowered its underlying rating to A-minus from A on auxiliary facilities system and certificates of participation debt issued by Western Illinois University Board of Trustees, Ill. for Western Illinois University.

The outlook is negative.

In addition, the agency lowered the standalone credit profile to A-minus.

"The downgrade to A-minus reflects our opinion of a deterioration in WIU's underlying credit characteristics in recent years," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Shivani Singh. "Continued enrollment declines have accelerated in the past two years, which are creating net tuition revenue and housing occupancy pressures, and operating performance in fiscal 2013—based on unaudited results--was substantially weaker and is projected to be similar for fiscal 2014, compared with more robust financial operations in prior years."

This, coupled with WIU's only adequate balance sheet for the rating category, makes WIU's enterprise and financial profile more in line with other A-minus Illinois public universities.

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