S&P Global Ratings announced yesterday that it has raised its long-term rating to “B+” from “B” on bonds issued for Sweet Briar College, with an outlook of “stable.”
“The rating upgrade reflects our view of the college’s new board and senior leadership team, including a new president who officially took office in May 2017, who have taken a number of actions to stabilize the college following the previously announced closure of the college in March 2015,” according to S&P Global’s report.
“These actions include an overhaul of strategic initiatives and developing related objectives to address the college’s immediate and intermediate priorities that include curriculum restructuring, reexamination of SBC’s tuition policy, and implementation of multi-year planning. In addition, during fiscal 2017, the college refinanced its direct placement debt with a loan from the endowment, thereby eliminating acceleration risk, which had been a prior credit concern.”
S&P further noted that Sweet Briar’s “continued elevated fundraising support and astute financial management and budgeting practices support the college’s attempt to stabilize and sustain its operations.”
In September, the College announced a comprehensive vision focused on excellence, relevance and affordability, and positioned itself as a new business model for liberal arts institutions. Comprehensive tuition, fees, room and board were reduced by 32 percent to $34,000 for the 2018-19 academic year.