Standard and Poor’s confirms HPU rating
December 21, 2015
Honolulu, Hawaii – Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) has maintained its BB+ long-term bond rating following a review by Standard and Poor’s (S&P).
After reviewing the university’s finances and operations, S&P affirmed the rating on the Hawaii State Department of Budget and Finance’s series 2013 special purpose revenue bonds issued for HPU.
“In last year's call S&P raised three issues,” said Bruce Edwards, HPU’s Chief Financial Officer, “the completion of ATM on time and budget, achieving better financial operating results, and stabilizing enrollment. The committee acknowledged the university's attaining the first two and recognized our efforts toward the third.”
S&P noted the stabilization in the first-year, full-time freshmen admissions category, and improving graduation rates, but expressed a concern in addressing other student populations, including transfer and graduate students. They noted that the university could not achieve desired operating results by reducing expenses alone, but also by increasing revenue.
“These are known issues,” Edwards said, “which is why we have placed such a significant effort on them. Full time undergraduate enrollment has begun to stabilize, and we have early signs that next year’s numbers will be stronger. The declines we have experienced in part-time graduate enrollments are in part the result of Hawaii’s unusually low unemployment rate, while falling part-time European enrollments reflect the strong U.S. dollar, but we think the work we are doing in marketing and enrollment management will have a positive effect in the months to come.”
S&P cited financial resources and low tuition discount rate as additional factors in affirming the current rating. They noted that future ratings would rely heavily on the direction of future enrollments, especially in the freshmen class.
“Overall, I think this rating keeps HPU in a good place,” Edwards continued. “This is a positive result in light of the fact that it has been a time of transition for the university. It allows us to move forward with our strategic enrollment efforts and see through the transition of a new president next year. We’ve shown positive performance on our top priorities, and continue to hone our strategies for ongoing success. I’m confident that we’ll continue to show strong results.”