Weekly Market Update
PRIVATE COLLEGES ARGUE FOR EXEMPTION FROM ANTI-TRUST LAWS
Thursday, August 3, 2017
A new proposal requests exemption from federal anti-trust laws for private colleges, stating that open communication would allow colleges to stop competing for students with merit scholarships, improve allocation of need-based aid, and consequently lower tuition. The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) believes that the current landscape has forced schools into a scholarship bidding war, often offering more financial aid than certain students need in order to be competitive. These deep discounts end up increasing the overall tuition and reduce aid to students who need it. However, critics are skeptical that the proposed exemption would result in tuition decreases, but rather lead to savings being distributed to other educational costs, such as facilities or staff. Certain top colleges are currently granted this exemption, on the condition that they admit students on a need-blind basis. A recent study by the Government Accountability Office found that, despite the exemption, tuition at these colleges increased at a higher rate than compared to other colleges.
In Other News
- The DOW hit a record high of 22,016 on Wednesday, largely driven by a 4.73 percent jump in Apple Inc. Meanwhile, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were hampered by weak performance of Facebook, Alphabet, and other tech stocks.
- After bipartisan lawmakers in the U.S. Senate introduced legislation to prevent the Department of Education from switching to a single servicer of student loans, the Trump administration has now decided on a new strategy that allows multiple companies to bid on contracts.
- In the face of fiscal pressures, higher education institutions are projected to undergo more mergers than in past decades. However, administrators are skeptical that such transactions will occur due to their difficulty.
- Universities are partnering with underperforming K-12 public schools and investing in new charters to help struggling communities. These projects have experienced varying success rates at UCLA, John Hopkins, CUNY, and others.
- The U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 percent rate in the 2nd quarter, driven by an increase in consumer spending. This marks the 96th month of growth since the Great Recession and the 3^rd longest economic expansion in U.S. history.
- Subpoenas have been issued to Wells Fargo for selling unwanted auto insurance, marking another event in a series of scandals over sales practices at Wells. The bank stated that it will refund an estimated $80 million to customers.
Rating Agency Update
- Moody's assigned Aa3 to Georgia State University's Series 2017, Series 2017A, and Series 2017B Refunding Bonds. The outlook is stable.
- Moody's assigned A3 to Gustavus Adolphus College's Series 2017 Revenue and Refunding Bonds. The outlook is negative.
- Moody's affirmed Merrimack College's Baa3 rating. The outlook is revised to positive from stable.
- Moody's affirmed Salk Institute for Biological Studies A1 rating on the Series 2010 Certificates of Participation. The outlook is stable.
- S&P affirmed Brooklyn Law School's BBB rating. The outlook is positive.
- S&P affirmed Syracuse University's AA- rating and assigned A-1+ short term rating on its commercial paper notes program. The outlook is stable.
- S&P affirmed University of Delaware's AA+ rating. The outlook is stable.
- S&P affirmed Eastern Michigan University's BBB+ rating. The outlook is revised to stable from negative.
- S&P assigned A- to Bradley University's Series 2017C Revenue Bonds. The outlook is stable.
- S&P assigned AA+ to University of Utah's Series 2017A Revenue and Refunding Bonds. The outlook is stable.
- S&P affirmed Medical College of Wisconsin's AA- rating. The outlook is stable.
- S&P affirmed University of Northern Iowa's A rating. The outlook is revised to positive from stable.
- S&P assigned A+ to Colorado School of Mines Series 2017A Revenue Bonds. The outlook is stable.
- S&P assigned BBB+ to Gannon University's Series 2017 Revenue Bonds. The outlook is stable.