Dartmouth College Bonds Keep Triple A Rating

Keeping with the recent zeitgeist over the ratings downgrade, it’s nice to note that Dartmouth College bonds issued on its behalf by the New Hampshire Health and Education Facilities Authority have kept their triple A rating (According to Fitch Ratings, at least). Amongst the highlights of the report:

-“Dartmouth’s balance sheet liquidity is strong and remains a primary rating driver. The college’s investment portfolio has largely rebounded from the significant market-driven investment losses it suffered during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. Dartmouth’s available funds, defined as cash and investments not permanently restricted, improved to $3 billion as of June 30, 2010, up from $2.75 billion as of June 30, 2009…”

-“Following two consecutive operating deficits in fiscal years 2008-2009, Dartmouth, as expected, generated a positive 1.6% operating margin in fiscal 2010 (including endowment spending). Operational improvement was the result of several measures taken by management over the past two fiscal years to reduce expenses and grow revenues. Expense cuts included reduced staff headcount, reduced employer benefit contributions, and consolidation of various administrative functions. It enhanced revenues through enrollment growth, tuition increases, and temporary increases in its annual endowment distribution, reaching 7% for fiscal 2010.”

While the recent furor over the Moody’s downgrade has made it abundantly clear that these ratings are not quite as holy as the agencies would like you to believe, it is nice to see from a 3rd party source some good news about the handling of Dartmouth’s finances.

 –Ke Ding