CAMBRIDGE, MA, Apr. 25--The Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
praised by Standard & Poor's for its "conservative management practices
and very low debt," has joined a tiny group of 12 companies and six
other universities whose bonds are rated Triple A.
Standard & Poor's, announcing the decision Tuesday, said the it was
"the only rating upgrade to triple A in that (education) sector for
almost a decade."
The upgrade is on $123.5 million of MIT bonds issued by the
Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority.
Standard & Poor's commented that "the upgrade is supported by
"--The university's maintenance of overwhelming demand, excellent
student quality, and increasingly competitive admissions;
"--MIT's continuing role as a preeminent research institution;
"--Continued growth of already impressive financial resources;
"--Conservative management practices; and
"--Very low debt."
Standard & Poor's statement said, "MIT's role as one of the
nation's preeminent research institutions remains intact. Despite a
tough market for university-based research over the past five years, on-
campus research volume is up 15% since 1992. MIT remains conservative in
its use of debt and derivatives compared to many of its competitors.
Total debt outstanding is only $200 million, and maximum annual debt
service is very low at 2.4% of 1995's operating budget."
The statement added, "MIT completed a moderate amount of
construction in 1995, yet has many projects slated for the future.
Nonetheless, actual deferred maintenance is minor and the campus is in
Standard & Poor's report that only 7 universities and 12 companies
have a Triple A rating. The companies are Abbott Labs, Amoco, Bristol
Myers Squibb, Exxon, GE, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg (cereal), Merck,
Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, Pfizer, Shell, UPS. The
universities are Caltech, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Rockefeller,
Stanford and Yale.