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Dickinson College Garners A+ S&P Rating

Photo by Joe O'Neill.

Photo by Joe O'Neill.

'Stable' designation reflects nimbleness, careful financial planning

Dickinson has maintained a Standard & Poor’s (S&P) A+ rating every year during the past decade, and this past year was no different. That's good news in any year. But it's even more impressive now, given the industrywide challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

S&P, a leading global index provider and data source best known for producing the essential S&P Index, has provided expert financial analyses and credit ratings of higher-ed institutions globally for more than 50 years. S&P upgraded Dickinson’s rating from A to A+ in March 2011.

Dickinson is one of only 266 colleges and universities to earn a “stable outlook” designation in S&P’s October 2020 higher-ed outlook report. In contrast, S&P categorized the higher-ed sector as a whole—and 39% of individual profiled institutions—with a “negative” outlook. It also downgraded its prior ratings for more than a quarter of higher-ed institutions that do not evidence the needed resources or flexibility to respond effectively to demographic shifts and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dickinson’s A+ rating in the face of these challenges signals important external validation of the leadership strategies that helped the college weather the 2020 storm, says Brontè Burleigh-Jones, Dickinson’s vice president for finance & administration.

“Strong demand for a Dickinson education, supported by a culture focused on careful financial planning and nimble management and access to reserves, has allowed us to maintain our A+ rating despite significant pressures,” Jones notes. “Because of this, we were able to address significant challenges in a strategic and proactive way and to consider student and employee safety first while we plan for our priorities going forward.”

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Published February 9, 2021