UNF in hot water with state over bond rating downgrade

Nick Blank

Video courtesy The Florida Channel, video has been edited for time

Florida Governor Rick Scott summoned UNF President John Delaney to Tallahassee because of a failure to notify the state about a downgrade in the university’s bond rating from an “A+” to an “A.”

Delaney
Delaney

Ben Watkins, the state’s Director of Bond Finance, attributed the downgrade to UNF’s drop in enrollment and a drop in post-recession funding.

A bond is university debt sold to private investors to fund projects and a quick way to raise funds. At the May 10 meeting, Delaney said the university used bonds instead of state funds because it was essentially more convenient.

A bond rating is basically a credit rating for the university: a lowered bond rating could make it harder for UNF to borrow money in the future.

Watkins said the bond rating decrease happened two months ago and should have been reported to the Division of Bond Finance.

According to the Florida Times-Union, the university emailed the state officials eight days later, but the information didn’t reach the Division of Bond Finance until much later, passing the ten-day deadline to update the Florida Board of Governors.

Delaney said the notification was the responsibility of the rating agency, but the university should have updated state officials sooner. He called the downgrade a “blip,” and insisted UNF’s rating was similar to other universities.

“If we get our enrollment up in the coming years, we can get that rating back up,” Delaney said.

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