Despite great strains on higher education due to the budget impasse in Springfield, Southeastern Illinois College has maintained its solid credit rating of AA- by Standard and Poor’s.
“We’re in the high grade section of the ratings scale,” said President Jonah Rice, Ph.D. “While some Illinois colleges had their ratings downgraded this past summer, we’re proud that we have maintained our fiscal status. If the state doesn’t solve this impasse soon, all of higher education will go through downgrades as we eat our reserves.”
Bond ratings have real consequences for colleges.
“By maintaining our high credit rating, our bonds are more desirable, and we can finance at a lower rate saving the college from high interest payments,” said executive dean of business affairs, David Wright. “It also has a positive effect on our insurance premiums.”
For context, the state of Illinois has a credit rating of Baa2, a lower-medium grade rating.
Because of the state’s budget impasse, the outlook for SIC’s credit rating has shifted from stable to negative.
“This game of chicken has to end soon or the implosion that will occur statewide will leave us forever scarred,” said Rice.
Credit rating agencies will continue to closely monitor and reexamine Illinois colleges as the budget impasse is causing the credit outlook for Illinois to move from stable to negative, putting more of a strain on higher education.
Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, with an extension center in Carmi, was founded in 1960 and serves more than 52,000 district residents in the counties of Gallatin, Hardin, Pope and Saline, as well as portions of Hamilton, Johnson, Williamson and White. The college sustains accountability, ranking sixth in the state for degree and certificate completion and offers nearly 120 certificate and degree programs, as well as specialized training in a multitude of interest areas. SIC maintains affordability with some of the lowest tuition rates in the state at $99 per credit hour. Southeastern provides accessibility as the area’s leader in online classes, successful high school dual credit programs, accelerated courses and night classes.
With approximately 5,000 full or part-time students throughout the course of a year and nearly 250 employees, SIC is a top employer for the area, and is committed to the economic growth of the communities it serves. Through community education offerings to all ages, cultural events and commitment to workforce and small business development, SIC endeavors to fulfill its mission to enhance lifelong learning by providing quality educational programs, cultural enrichment opportunities and support for economic development. For more information, visit www.sic.edu or call 618-252-5400.