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Amid improving finances, college misses bond payment

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology failed to make a monthly loan payment on May 1 in default of its loan agreement, according to a disclosure last week to its bondholders.

Under the agreement, monthly payments to the bond trustee roll up into semiannual payments on interest and principal on the university’s bonds.

Those semiannual payments are still being made, according to university spokesperson Jessica Warren. 

“The university just made one in April,” she said. “This payment was duly executed as scheduled, reflecting our commitment to meeting our financial obligations.”

The disclosure of the missed monthly payment of about $1.2 million is a required standard filing, she said. “We’ve maintained open and transparent communication with the bond trustee and institutional holders.”

Warren declined to comment further.

A spokesperson for the trustee, Kansas City-based UMB Bank, declined to comment beyond what was in bond disclosures.

The finances: HU is operating in the black for the nine months ending March 31, according to financial disclosures.

The school’s revenue for the period was $57.9 million, while expenses were $55.6 million. 

It is a turnaround from the previous fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, when expenses exceeded revenue by nearly $8.4 million, according to an annual report.

Following a consultant’s report in January 2023, the school has been focusing on areas where it can grow and cutting back in others.

HU opened a Middle East campus in Dubai, for example, where it is offering in-demand graduate programs in cybersecurity, data analytics and software development.

In Harrisburg, HU is partnering with Pittsburgh-based UPMC on training programs for nurses and other healthcare professionals.  UPMC also bought naming rights to the school’s new building in downtown Harrisburg.

And at its Philadelphia campus, the school dropped what were described as “poorly performing” undergraduate programs.

“It’s a matter of us repositioning what we do to better meet market demands,” university president Eric Darr said last summer.

The consultant’s report was bullish on the university’s prospects

The background: Like other colleges around the U.S., Harrisburg University saw enrollment decline during the Covid-19 pandemic. The school’s student population has rebounded since then.

HU had 2,841 graduate students in fall 2023, up from 2,433 in fall 2022 but down from a peak of 3,818 in fall 2018, according to bond disclosures.

The school had 718 undergraduates in fall 2023, up from 649 in fall 2022.

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology failed to make a monthly loan payment on May 1 in default of its loan agreement, according to a disclosure last week to its bondholders.

Under the agreement, monthly payments to the bond trustee roll up into semiannual payments on interest and principal on the university’s bonds.

Those semiannual payments are still being made, according to university spokesperson Jessica Warren. 

“The university just made one in April,” she said. “This payment was duly executed as scheduled, reflecting our commitment to meeting our financial obligations.”

The disclosure of the missed monthly payment of about $1.2 million is a required standard filing, she said. “We’ve maintained open and transparent communication with the bond trustee and institutional holders.”

Warren declined to comment further.

A spokesperson for the trustee, Kansas City-based UMB Bank, declined to comment beyond what was in bond disclosures.

The finances: HU is operating in the black for the nine months ending March 31, according to financial disclosures.

The school’s revenue for the period was $57.9 million, while expenses were $55.6 million. 

It is a turnaround from the previous fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, when expenses exceeded revenue by nearly $8.4 million, according to an annual report.

Following a consultant’s report in January 2023, the school has been focusing on areas where it can grow and cutting back in others.

HU opened a Middle East campus in Dubai, for example, where it is offering in-demand graduate programs in cybersecurity, data analytics and software development.

In Harrisburg, HU is partnering with Pittsburgh-based UPMC on training programs for nurses and other healthcare professionals.  UPMC also bought naming rights to the school’s new building in downtown Harrisburg.

And at its Philadelphia campus, the school dropped what were described as “poorly performing” undergraduate programs.

“It’s a matter of us repositioning what we do to better meet market demands,” university president Eric Darr said last summer.

The consultant’s report was bullish on the university’s prospects

The background: Like other colleges around the U.S., Harrisburg University saw enrollment decline during the Covid-19 pandemic. The school’s student population has rebounded since then.

HU had 2,841 graduate students in fall 2023, up from 2,433 in fall 2022 but down from a peak of 3,818 in fall 2018, according to bond disclosures.

The school had 718 undergraduates in fall 2023, up from 649 in fall 2022.

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