Ratings agency warns Stockton over debt for AC development

Stockton University will have a “weakened financial position” after issuing new debt to build a parking garage and residence hall in Atlantic City, and it may look to raise tuition fees, according to debt ratings agency Fitch Ratings. Stockton, which gained university status last year, is borrowing $70 million to pay for the Atlantic City development and $211 million to refund outstanding debt and finance $25 million in projects at its main Galloway campus. Since the University’s operating results were in the red last year in spite of healthy enrollment growth, Stockton needs to trim expenses and raise revenue – likely by making tuition “adjustments,” the ratings agency said in a statement on Wednesday. Without those changes, Stockton would not be able to borrow for any further expansion projects without risking a ratings downgrade, which would increase the cost of its borrowing and further worsen its financial position. “Stockton’s operating results have been negative since fiscal 2014,” said Fitch.

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