S&P Reaffirms Colleges “A” Rating – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

S&P Reaffirms Colleges “A” Rating

Citing steady growth in enrollment and applications over the past five years, a manageable debt burden, and a long history of positive operating performance, the Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) affirmed its “A” long-term rating and underlying rating of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. An “A”‘ rating reflects the rating service’s confidence in the stability of the Colleges and the institution’s ability to successfully manage its finance and operations.

According to a report filed by S&P credit analysts who conducted a series of meetings with the Colleges’ top finance and administration personnel and trustees, “the stable outlook reflects Standard & Poor’s expectation that management will maintain or strengthen HWS’ surplus operating performance, grow financial resources, and stabilize demand during the outlook period of two years.”

The report also pointed to the Colleges’ strategic plan, adequate financial resources, increases in their endowment since the financial crisis of 2008, and fairly strong alumni participation in fundraising.

“Financial goals of the last strategic plan included a $160 million campaign and increasing the endowment to $200 million. The campaign goals were reached on time and the board decided to extend the campaign timeline and goal to $200 million in order to include additional funding for endowed scholarships and a new performing arts center,” the report explains. It refers to fundraising as “one of HWS’ strengths.”

“We are pleased with the report of the S&P credit analysts,” says Peter Polinak, vice president for finance at HWS. “We consider this positive rating a validation of the hard work and dedication of everyone associated with the institution – faculty, staff, trustees, students and our community partners.”

Hobart and William Smith are small, residential Colleges where learning doesn’t stop at the classroom door. Nearly all of the 2,100 students live on campus and many live in learning communities and theme houses that focus on community-building. Students hail from 40 states and 21 countries, speaking, in total, more than 30 languages, and 59 percent of students study abroad. As a result, the HWS community is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive student body. With an average class size of just 17 students and an 11:1 student to faculty ratio, students develop rewarding one-on-one partnerships with faculty mentors, often resulting in published papers or presentations at national conferences. Hobart and William Smith offer 45 majors and 65 minors. More than 60 percent of students create an independent course or major and many courses provide service-learning experiences, internships and job opportunities.