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TTU System Receives Standard & Poor’s Credit Rating Upgrade

Three of the world's most influential credit rating agencies give the Texas Tech University System superior ratings.

June 9, 2016 | Written by Dana Jennings

The Texas Tech University System recently received an upgrade in its long-term credit rating by Standard & Poor’s, one of the most influential credit rating organizations in the world. 

The credit rating was raised from AA to AA+, solidifying the Texas Tech University System’s place among the nation’s top higher education institutions for financial strength and practices. This represents the highest rating for the Texas Tech University System by Standard & Poor’s, and is the second highest rating given by the global credit rating agency.  

“Receiving such a high rating is truly a testament to the Texas Tech University System’s excellent stewardship of resources and conservative fiscal planning,” said Jim Brunjes, vice chancellor and chief financial officer for the Texas Tech University System. “Our AA+ rating is made possible by the attentive work of the CFOs at each of our institutions.” 

The credit rating upgrade reflects Standard & Poor’s assessment of the Texas Tech University System’s strengths, including its diverse revenue base, strong endowment of more than $1.2 billion and the system’s history of positive operating performance. Standard & Poor’s also cited the Texas Tech University System’s comprehensive course offerings, continued growth and solid available resources as strengths to justify the increased credit rating.                                                                        

The AA+ rating secures the Texas Tech University System as one of only 15 U.S. public institutions of higher education to achieve superior ratings from Standard & Poor’s. The Texas Tech University System now stands in the top three highest credit-rated university systems in Texas with the University of Texas System and the Texas A&M University System. 

“It is a significant accomplishment to receive this high of a credit rating,” Chancellor Robert L. Duncan said. “It’s also exciting to be in such great company among the top-rated institutions in the country, and I extend my sincere appreciation to Mr. Brunjes, our university CFOs and financial teams.”

Standard & Poor’s is a credit rating agency that issues credit ratings for the debt of public and private companies as well as public borrowers such as governments and governmental entities. The agency, in an announcement of the ratings upgrade, referred to the Texas Tech University System as having an extremely strong financial profile with a stable outlook. 

In addition to the high Standard & Poor’s rating, the Texas Tech University System has received superior grades from two other leading credit rating organizations: Moody’s and Fitch Ratings. 

The Texas Tech University System was rated Aa1 by Moody’s, signifying a recognition of the system as one of the most financially strong institutions in the country. The Moody’s rating reflects continued positive operations and state support balanced with a fiscally prudent strategy to position the Texas Tech University System to achieve enrollment targets and strategic goals. 

Fitch Ratings awarded the Texas Tech University System its AA+ rating in 2012 based on the system’s financial strength, manageable debt burden, operating performance, solid balance sheet and sufficient liquidity. Fitch recently affirmed the AA+ rating, as well as the agency’s F1+ rating on the revenue financing system taxable and tax-exempt commercial paper program issued by the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents. 

“I am so proud of the many individuals throughout the Texas Tech University System who work to create and preserve our outstanding financial strength,” Brunjes said. 

About the Texas Tech University System 
The Texas Tech University System is one of the top public university systems in Texas and the nation, consisting of four component institutions – Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Angelo State University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso – and operating at more than a dozen academic sites and centers.  Headquartered in Lubbock, Texas, the TTU System has an annual operating budget of nearly $2 billion and approximately 19,000 employees focused on advancing higher education, health care, research and outreach. 

In 2015, the TTU System’s endowment exceeded $1.1 billion, total research expenditures were more than $215 million and total enrollment was approximately 50,000 students. Whether it’s contributing billions of dollars annually in economic impact or being the only system in Texas to house an academic institution, law school and health-related institution at the same location, the TTU System continues to prove that anything is possible.