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5 higher education institutions put on negative credit watch

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BATON ROUGE - With the threat of deep budget cuts looming, national credit rating agency Standard & Poor's has placed five Louisiana higher education institutions on a negative credit watch.

The move effectively cautions investors that ratings could be lowered in the near future.

S&P's decision affects Nicholls State University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of New Orleans Research Foundation, LSU's Bogalusa Community Medical Center Project and the Delgado Community College Foundation.

The rating agency says it will look again at the issue within 90 days, after the legislative session ends and next year's budget is crafted.

Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration expressed optimism that a budget solution will be found and the institutions will be taken off S&P's watch list.

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