Moody’s, a global integrated risk assessment firm, has upgraded Russell Sage College’s credit rating from a “stable” to a “positive” outlook.

The move from B3 Stable to B3 Positive represents a steady climb since 2019 and a remarkable financial turnaround. The firm released its most recent rating of the college on Friday.

“We are proud to be a positive story you’re not seeing in higher education very often right now,” said Russell Sage President Christopher Ames. “The strong vision for the future and stewardship of resources we’ve had at Russell Sage College has allowed us to navigate the changing demographics and trends in higher education.” 

“Careful attention to the budget has led to five consecutive years of budget surpluses and the ability to consistently pay down a relatively small amount of bond debt,” Ames continued. “Our campus community made sacrifices with lean budgets knowing it was important in the current higher education landscape. Our previous rating in 2022 upgraded the college to B3 Stable, so we are pleased the positive trend continues.”

In its announcement, Moody’s noted the improved outlook was due to “improved wealth and ongoing measures to align expenses with fluctuating revenue.” Moody’s also noted that “Management’s credibility has strengthened with a track record of generally improving operating performance even with pressures from a highly competitive student market and inflation.”

This fall, Russell Sage launched new online master’s degree programs in Criminal Justice and Community Corrections and Sport Science: Coaching and Mental Performance and will add an online Doctor of Nursing Practice program and online version of its M.A. in Counseling and Community Psychology within a year pending New York state approval. Russell Sage has also initiated an accelerated path to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing for those holding bachelor’s degrees in other fields to address the critical need for nurses.

The college has also partnered with a national online education provider to expand the reach of its highly regarded physical and occupational therapy programs across the United States. The first online Master in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) students, who will have an in-person clinical component in their programs, begin classes this fall.

Donor support has been critical to helping the college with start-up expenses for new and expanded programs where we are traditionally strong. Those programs just recently launched and will drive increased enrollment in the coming years.

In September, the college announced a $4 million gift from 1970 graduate Donna Robinson Esteves, half of which supports the launch of these new degree offerings.

The college, with campuses in Albany and Troy, is home to about 2,000 full-time and part-time students both on campus and online.

Ames credited the college’s culture of being student-centered and collaborative as one of the reasons for the improved outlook.

“We’ve made important changes to our academic and student support offerings that stand out in the way they meet the needs of ‘post-pandemic’ students and today’s workforce,” Ames said. 

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