2 rating agencies affirm Kean’s finances amid ongoing growth, climbing enrollment

Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global recently affirmed Kean University’s ratings and “stable” outlook, highlighting its robust financial position amid ongoing growth and strong enrollment.

Moody’s affirmed Kean’s A2 issuer rating and A2 rating on long-term revenue bonds, while S&P affirmed its A- underlying rating and long-term rating on revenue bonds.

“These affirmations of Kean University’s finances are a powerful endorsement of our mission, strategic vision and growth,” President Lamont Repollet said. “These ratings from our credit agencies reflect our financial stability and commitment to fostering an inclusive and innovative academic environment as we advance toward becoming a Carnegie-classified R2 research university.”

Lamont Repollet.

The ratings come after two years of record freshman enrollment at Kean, which was designated as the state’s urban research university in 2021. The university now serves more than 17,000 students in Union and Toms River — as well as Wenzhou, China.

Kean continues to thrive by aligning its programs with the diverse industries in northern New Jersey, supporting enrollment growth and maintaining a strong regional presence, according to Moody’s.

S&P pointed to the university’s long history of operating surpluses in issuing its decision. It also cited Kean’s experienced management team that is focused on improving research and elevating the Kean brand.

Under Repollet’s leadership, the university has launched a series of wellness initiatives for students and employees, building a culture of success at an institutional level.

Board Chair Steve Fastook is thrilled.

“The board of trustees is fully supportive of Kean’s educational and student wellness initiatives that drive enrollment and support retention,” he said. “We believe these initiatives are vital to fostering a thriving academic environment while supporting the bottom line.”

Moody’s cited the university’s regional importance, sizable scale and financial position relative to operations and debt. It also highlighted Kean’s diverse array of programming and its designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution as strengths.

“In these challenging times for higher education, Kean University’s fiscally responsible approach to growth sets us apart,” said Trustee Matthew McDermott, chair of the board’s Finance Committee. “Our commitment to financial stability ensures that we can continue to grow and innovate, further advancing Kean’s commitment to affordable academic excellence.”

The university reduced its outstanding debt by more than $97 million over a 10-year period through fiscal year 2023. The “stable” outlook reflects expectations of gradual improvement in operating performance and contained use of reserves, with no significant increase in financial leverage.

“A strong financial footing is crucial as Kean University expands its research capacity and enhances its academic offerings,” said Andrew Brannen, chief financial officer. “Our prudent financial management ensures we can support our growing research initiatives and continue to provide high-quality education.”