Report: Bleak Fiscal Outlook for Ill. Universities

CHICAGO (AP) -- A major credit rating agency says Illinois' public universities are facing major financial challenges that will continue to affect their credit.

Moody's Investors Service issued a report Wednesday. Earlier this month the agency downgraded the credit of seven of the eight universities it rates.

The report says more downgrades could occur because the financial outlook is so bleak.

State funding for higher education has decreased over the past decade, and lawmakers' efforts to fix Illinois' pension crisis could mean universities have to pick up more of those costs.

The report also notes state law hampers the universities' ability to raise tuition to bring in more revenue. Illinois also has been late making its payments to the schools each year for the past four years.

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