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NKU Awarded A1 Stable Ranking by Moody’s


Oct. 20, 2021 —  Northern Kentucky University has retained its A1 credit rating in the latest report by Moody's Investors Service, confirming NKU’s stable financial future.

The decreased pension payments to the Kentucky Employees Retirement Systems (KERS) was a contributing factor to NKU’s A1 ranking. With the decision to exit KERS last year, NKU will reduce its future pension payments by $4.5 million each year.

“NKU was spending over 8.5% of its operating budget on pension payments for the combined defined benefit and defined contribution plans before the university opted out,” said NKU Chief Financial Officer Mike Hales. “With the university now spending significantly less on pension benefits, NKU can use that money for a plethora of other uses.”

The rating solidifies NKU’s financial stability by exchanging uncertain future pension contribution increases for consistent bond payments over the next 30 years.

“The rating also has long-term financial implications for NKU,” Hales continued. “If NKU chooses to take on any future debt for whatever reason, it will keep the university’s borrowing costs low as the A1 rating means we are a low credit risk.”

NKU has been rated A1 since 2010. The entire Moody’s report can be read online with a subscription.

About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit