S&P Affirms Hawai‘i Pacific University’s Bond Rating

October 02, 2014

HONOLULU — Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s announced today that it has affirmed Hawai‘i Pacific University’s maintenance of its 'BB+' long-term bond rating. S&P also noted that HPU continues to have good financial resources for the rating category, with an above-average endowment and focused efforts on fundraising.

HPU’s unchanged rating comes at a time when Standard & Poor's expects that negative ratings actions on private universities will outnumber the positive.

The agency cited HPU’s good financial resource ratios, low tuition discount rate and a senior management team that has refined its plans that “adequately suit the university’s business position,” as reasons that help mitigate any weaknesses.

“Maintaining HPU’s current S&P rating is a strong indicator that our plans are on the right track and it validates the progress that is being made,” said HPU President Geoffrey Bannister.

HPU’s rating affirmation was accompanied by a negative outlook by S&P, reflecting the agency’s view of current enrollment trends and delays in opening of the revitalized Aloha Tower Marketplace, as well as its general view of higher education trends.

According to a report from RatingsDirect, “Many Factors Burden The U.S. Higher Education Sector in 2014,” published in February, the number of downgrades “outpaced that of upgrades, continuing the accelerating rate of negative rating activity. The current number of obligors with negative outlooks is more than double those with positive outlooks; coupled with the sector's other challenges, we expect negative actions to continue to dominate rating changes in 2014.”