Illinois State University has maintained its A2 credit rating with Moodys Investor Service, but the university did experience an outlook downgrade to negative. (WJBC file photo)
By Eric Stock
NORMAL - Illinois State University's credit rating outlook has been lowered to negative because of the state's fiscal crisis.
ISU President Al Bowman said he was pleased that Moodys Investors Service kept the university's A2 credit rating intact.
"Given the condition of the state's finances, we've been making the case to Moodys for a long time that painting the Illinois public universities with one brush really isn't accurate and I think they finally understood that," Bowman said.
Three other schools had their credit outlook downgraded by Moody's - University of Illinois, Southern Illinois and Western Illinois. Four other schools were dealt a credit rating drop - Eastern Illinois, Governors State, Northern Illinois, and Northeastern Illinois.
State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, said ISU has received less than 20 percent of the $74 million in state money it was promised this budget year - and the school isn't alone.
"They are owed over $59 million in their budget," Brady said. "You want something mind-boggling, the University of Illinois is owed more than $537 million."
Brady suggested the school funding problem is so bad in Illinois - the state might consider consolidating colleges - something it's done for decades with elementary and secondary schools.
Bowman said state funding for ISU has stabilized. Illinois has completed payments for the 2012 budget year and is starting to get caught up on 2013 funding.
"We are seeing a predictable revenue stream from them. Even though there are delays in payments, because our enrollment is stable and our cash flow is good, we can make adjustments and move forward without any problem at all," Bowman said.
Bowman will join other university presidents on Thursday in testifying before the Illinois Senate Appropriations Committee.
Eric Stock can be reached at email@example.com.