Contrary to popular opinion, universities are not run by Chancellor’s sitting on a giant stack of gold coins Scrooge McDuck style. Your university takes out loans to build infrastructure, fund programs and pay salaries. And just like you and me, their ability to secure credit is based on a risk-assessment.

You should be eyeing your Universities credit score (called ‘bond ratings’) as regularly as you watch your own. Your university or medical center’s bond rating will tell you how optimistic investors are that your school is likely to pay them back. The worse the credit score, the harder and more expensive it is to get money.

Bond ratings for institutions start with A’s and dip into the C’s. You should be wary of landing a new position at an institution with anything less than a high A (denoted with A where “Aaa’ is the highest) or develop a program at your university.

The big work horses in bond ratings for universities, institutes, and medical centers are Moody’s and Standard and Poors. There’s a good chance your university already subscribes, so login using your work access to subscription sites and get a painfully honest breakdown of liabilities, prospects for growth and long-term stability. According to their estimates, about 10% of the 4,495 Title IV universities in the US are stable enough to survive impending economic, demographic and technological shifts. Did we just say 10%? Yes. Yes, we did.

You should probably figure out if yours is one of them.

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