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News Release

Oct. 18, 2023

Moody’s improves Northwest’s financial outlook to positive, affirms bond ratings

Moody’s Investors Service recently upgraded Northwest Missouri State University’s financial outlook to positive and affirmed its bond ratings as a reflection of the University’s consistently favorable operating performance.

Northwest’s improved outlook from a stable rating as a result of Moody’s last assessment of the University in 2018 to a positive rating this fall – as well as the affirmation of Northwest’s A2 issuer rating and A3 revenue bond ratings – reflects favorable trends in reserve growth and sustained strong operating performance, according to the global integrated risk assessment firm.

Additionally, the positive rating reflects solid trends in enrollment compared to Northwest’s peers, with full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment increasing 9 percent during the last five years. At the end of fiscal year 2022, Northwest had recorded $38.6 million of outstanding debt while enrollment grew to more than 6,000 FTE.

Furthermore, Northwest’s improved outlook from stable to positive is a significant accomplishment while Moody’s has assessed a negative outlook to other higher education institutions and notes that more universities are likely to run deficits in fiscal year 2023.

“I am very pleased with the work of the institution and our leaders across campus, ensuring that we are in a financially sound position,” Stacy Carrick, the University’s vice president of finance and administration, said. “There is a lot of volatility still in the markets with enrollment and cliff years ahead of us. There are lots of things for us to still keep a pulse on, but I’m very proud to say that we have great ratings for our institution.”

In affirming Northwest’s A2 issuer rating, which is based on the institution’s overall performance, Moody’s cited Northwest’s “regionally important role with a very solid financial position” and the university’s ability to attract non-resident and international students, which has supported its enrollment growth.

Moody’s affirmation of the A3 revenue bond rating incorporates the issuer rating and the narrower revenue base enhancing the pledge, partially offset by active management and dedicated reserves.

For more information, including Moody's key rating assumptions, analysis and definitions, visit

About Northwest Missouri State University

Northwest is a coeducational, primarily residential four-year university that offers a broad range of undergraduate and selected graduate programs on its Maryville campus as well as its Northwest-Kansas City location and through Northwest Online.

Founded in 1905 and ranked by U.S. News and World Report among the top public regional universities in the Midwest, Northwest boasts a high retention rate and a graduation rate in the 95th percentile of its peers. Additionally, results of the 2021 Ruffalo Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory show Northwest students are more satisfied than students at national peers, and 80 percent of Northwest students report they would repeat their University experience, compared to 77 percent of students surveyed nationally at their respective institutions.

Furthermore, 97 percent of Northwest bachelor’s degree earners and 99 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data.

Northwest places a high emphasis on profession-based learning to help graduates get a jumpstart on their careers. Students have opportunities to build their résumés with experiences on campus in nearly every area of study, including the Horace Mann Laboratory SchoolNational Public Radio affiliate KXCV, the R.T. Wright Farm, Mozingo Outdoor Education Recreation Area or Knacktive, a student-driven integrated digital marketing communications agency. In conjunction with its emergency and disaster management program, Northwest organizes and hosts Missouri Hope, an annual mass casualty training exercise that attracts first responders and emergency workers from throughout the nation and provides hands-on training in preparation for a natural disaster.

The University’s vibrant and diverse learning community also offers more than 150 student organizations, and textbooks and a laptop are included in tuition, which is among the lowest in the nation, saving students an estimated $6,800 over four years. Northwest offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to build professional skills through its internationally benchmarked student employment program. 

For more information about Northwest and its performance, visit



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