NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings does not expect the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's 12-month probation recently imposed by its accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), to negatively affect student demand.
The SACSCOC probation stems from past academic fraud that occurred at the university relating to certain courses that were taught in an irregular manner. Based on discussion with university management, it appears that this issue was isolated in a single academic department and ceased in 2011. Subsequently, the university implemented reforms to prevent such occurrences from happening again.
Based on the university's broader reputation for academic excellence and its strong financial profile, Fitch does not anticipate any negative credit implications as a result of the SACSCOC probation. Historically, student demand for the university has been strong, a trend that Fitch expects will continue. Importantly, SACSCOC probationary status does not affect the university's access to federal funding, including for financial aid and research grants. The university is also facing allegations from the NCAA, which is conducting its own investigation. However, no decision is expected from the NCAA for several months. Fitch will continue to monitor the university's accreditation and NCAA status over the next year.
Fitch maintains an 'AAA' rating on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's general revenue bonds. For more information on the university, please see Fitch's report dated Sept. 19, 2014 available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.