Weekly Market Update

HARVARD MAKES A PUSH TO ONLINE EDUCATION

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Harvard University announced a partnership with 2U, an online program management company, to create a new online business analytics certificate program. The collaboration is geared to providing full-time professionals the opportunity to learn from Harvard's world-class faculty about this emerging industry. 2U will provide a significant investment to get the program off the ground, while in turn receiving compensation from student enrollment fees. Harvard joins the ranks of other top universities like Cornell and University of Pennsylvania to provide online access to business analytics programs. The announcement comes in the wake of growing criticism of partnerships between public universities and online program managers. The Century Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank, released a report arguing that introducing for-profit managers could create financial incentives that don't exist in the nonprofit model.

In Other News

  • Due to late or missing financial statement reporting, public colleges and universities in West Virginia were sanctioned by the federal government. The sanctions will delay the reimbursement of financial aid and cause a delay in new academic programs to be federally approved.
  • After failing to have two lawsuits dismissed, student loan giant Navient Corp. faces trial over allegations of adding $4 billion in interest charges to borrowers' loan balances and taking shortcuts.
  • U.S endowments experienced strong performance in fiscal year 2017 with a median return of 11.3%, driven by the stock market surge following Trump's election.
  • The Republican's tax overhaul includes a proposal to double the standard deduction, threatening to impede nonprofit donors' incentives by an estimated 4.6%. In response, nonprofits have pitched a "universal" tax deduction.
  • The US economy added 209,000 new jobs in July and the unemployment rate fell to 4.3%, a 16-year low. Biggest gains were reported in professional and business services, education and health services.

Rating Agency Update

  • Moody's assigned A2 to William Paterson University, NJ's Series 2017B Revenue Bonds. The outlook is negative.
  • Moody's assigned Baa2 to Emerson College's Series 2017A and Series 2017B Revenue Bonds. The outlook is stable.
  • Moody's assigned Aa3 to State System of Higher Education's (PA) Series AU Revenue Bonds. The outlook is negative.
  • Moody's affirmed Texas Southern University's Baa3 rating. The outlook is revised to stable from negative.
  • Moody's assigned Aa1 to University of Utah's Series 2017A Revenue Bonds. The outlook is stable.
  • S&P assigned BBB+ to Emerson College's Series 2017A and Series 2017B Revenue Bonds. The outlook is stable.
  • S&P affirmed Colorado College's AA rating. The outlook is stable.