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Credit agencies reaffirm long-term ratings for UCAR

UCAR earns A2 and A+ ratings

Oct 29, 2020 - by David Hosansky

The credit rating agencies Moody's Investor Service and Standard & Poor's Global Ratings have reaffirmed A2 and A+ long-term bond ratings for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). Both agencies noted UCAR’s prominent role in the research community and its established history of sound financial operations.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw S&P move numerous not-for-profit organizations, including UCAR and many higher education institutions, to a negative outlook earlier in the year. However, the agency has restored UCAR’s previous ratings because of its steady operating performance.

“The outlook revision reflects our expectation that UCAR's role and reputation as a leading laboratory for the study of the atmosphere will allow it to maintain steady federal funding in the face of COVID-19 uncertainty,” stated the S&P report.

The Moody’s report also noted UCAR’s financial strengths. “UCAR's strong reputation and substantial presence in weather and climate research, with a long track record of federal funding, provide lasting competitive advantages that will help UCAR continue to navigate growing competition for research support,” it stated.

UCAR is a not-for-profit consortium of 120 North American colleges and universities focused on research and training in the Earth system sciences. It manages NCAR on behalf of the National Science Foundation (NSF). UCAR's annual expenditures are about $250 million.

"We are pleased to see this reaffirmation of UCAR’s stability and focus on sound fiscal principles, especially in these challenging times, " said Susan Avery, chair of the UCAR Board of Trustees. "With most staff working remotely, these ratings are a testament to their continuing dedication to be the best possible stewards of the NSF investment in NCAR."

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