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New Jersey’s Rutgers University Faces Moody’s Downgrade

Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, had $1.3 billion in debt placed on review for possible downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service.

General-obligation bonds, certificates of participation, lease revenue bonds and charter school project securities may be affected, Moody’s said in a report yesterday. It rates New Brunswick-based Rutgers at Aa2, third highest.

Rutgers, with more than 58,000 students, has a “leveraged balance sheet and significant future capital plans,” Moody’s said. The Rutgers governing board voted Nov. 19 to take over the Newark-based University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, which has about 6,000 students and owes $450 million to bondholders.

“Given the complexity of this historic transaction, a review was certainly not unanticipated,” said Greg Trevor, a university spokesman, by e-mail. “We are confident that the integration of Rutgers and UMDNJ will ultimately benefit the university and the state of New Jersey.”

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