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      Moody's downgrades Western Illinois University rating

      Western Illinois University is one of seven public schools in the state to receive a downgraded credit rating this month.

      Moody's Investors Service reduced the credit rating Friday and gave a "Negative Outlook" notice to all of Illinois' eight public universities.

      As state leaders continue to put off work on necessary pension reform, Moody TMs Investors Service has more bad news for Illinois, Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford said. According to Rutherford, Moody TMs has downgraded $1.56 billion of debt issued by the University of Illinois, and lowered the ratings on six other state universities including Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University, Eastern Illinois University, Western Illinois University, Northeastern Illinois University and Governors State University.

      The bond rating agency report cited weak liquidity and pressures on enrollment at WIU.

      It also pointed to the pension crisis that has yet to be resolved by state lawmakers.

      WIU Budget Director Matt Bierman told Tri-States Public Radio that the lower rating will not have an immediate impact on the school because there are no plans to issue bonds in the next two to four years.