SHERIDAN — Earlier this month, Northern Wyoming Community College District President Dr. Paul Young received two strong endorsements of the college’s health. First, news from the Institutional Actions Council of the Higher Learning Commission reaffirming the college’s accreditation through 2028. Second, official notification from Standard & Poor’s Financial Services, LLC that the college’s credit rating is an A+.
“Both of these items are indications of the excellence of the institution’s overall strength, financially and academically,” Young said in a press release. “I am proud of all we have accomplished, and this news demonstrates our continued commitment to excellence at all levels. We have an incredibly stable foundation, and are positioned to continue to play an important role in the communities we serve.”
According to Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Heath, the three major credit rating agencies are Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch. Agencies assign credit ratings, which are a measure of the creditworthiness of an institution.
“This is the main way a college can demonstrate financial stability,” Heath said. “When affirming a rating, S&P looks at financial statements as well as other data such as the budget, ratios, enrollment, cohort default rate, assessed value trends, State funding trends and quality of the leadership of the district, so this is a strong positive statement on behalf of our District.”
NWCCD first received an A+ rating in 2008, which was reaffirmed in 2013, 2017 and, most recently, in March 2019 by S&P.
HLC is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States and accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in 19 states in the north central region. The accreditation reaffirmation is the final step in a rigorous, comprehensive ten-year cycle, whereby institutions must demonstrate successful standards of quality in multiple categories.
“Meeting and even exceeding many of the HLC criteria is a testament to the commitment and talent of our faculty and staff,” Young said. “Student success has been, and will continue to be, our focus.”