Weekly Market Update


Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Department of Education has released new, interim guidelines for colleges and universities to use when investigating sexual assault, including the option to use a higher standard of evidence. With the release of new guidance, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinded the Obama Administration's 2011 and 2014 guidance for campus sexual assault, explaining that "the withdrawn documents ignored notice and comment requirements, created a system that lacked basic elements of due process and failed to ensure fundamental fairness." Under the Obama administration, campuses could use "preponderance of evidence," a legal standard based on the accuracy of the most probable evidence and not on the amount of evidence. This standard is lower than the "clear and convincing" legal standard, which campus sexual assault cases are now able to use. The new regulations also state that there is "no fixed time frame under which a school must complete a Title IX investigation."

In Other News

  • The GOP just released its long-anticipated framework for tax reform. The nine-page document contemplates many significant changes for both corporations and individuals, but provides few implementation details. Among its prominent features is a decrease in the number of tax brackets for individuals from seven to three, and a decrease in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%.
  • On Monday the mayor of Hartford told bond investors that the city has no room left to tax or cut its way out of its fiscal crisis. The capital city of Connecticut said it needs $50 million in additional state funding to avoid a Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing and is willing to discuss restructuring as an alternative to bankruptcy.
  • The University of Phoenix confirmed last Friday that it plans to phase out on-campus enrollment and teaching at around 20 of its approximately 70 locations across 11 states. Some employees speculate that this may be due to declining student enrollment.
  • The University of Wyoming has recorded a slight increase in enrollment for the first time in several years. The university has been dealing with cuts in state funding, and gains in freshman and transfer students provide welcome news. The university partially attributed the boost to two overlapping moves it made in recent months: better strategic planning and enrollment plans.
  • In what's being called a "particularly egregious" case, a grand jury has indicted a 69-year-old woman for allegedly stealing nearly $6 million from a Hawaii nonprofit that helps clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • The University of California, Irvine landed a $200 million pledge from Henry Samueli, co-founder of Broadcom Corp., and his wife, Susan Samueli, to establish a new health sciences college focused on integrative health. Critics and some medical authorities raised questions about whether Susan Samueli's interest in alternative medicine and controversial integrative medicine programs will undermine UCI's explicit commitment to science-based medicine.

Rating Agency Update

  • Moody's assigned Aa1 to University of Nebraska's Series 2017A Facilities Bonds and Series 2017B Facilities Refunding Bonds. The outlook is stable.
  • S&P affirmed New York Institute of Technology's BBB+ rating. The outlook is stable.
  • S&P affirmed Swarthmore College's AAA rating. The outlook is stable.
  • S&P affirmed Carnegie Institution of Washington's AA+ rating. The outlook is stable.
  • S&P affirmed Wake Forest University's AA rating. The outlook is stable.
  • S&P raised Meredith College's rating to BBB+ from BBB. The outlook is stable.
  • S&P reinstated Tufts University's AA-/A-1+ rating. The outlook is stable.
  • S&P assigned AAA to Northwestern University's Series 2017 Taxable Fixed-Rate Bonds. The outlook is stable.