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Rating Action:

Moody's assigns Aa2 to University of Alabama at Birmingham series 2019-A and 2019-B; outlook stable

24 May 2019

New York, May 24, 2019 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned Aa2 ratings to the University of Alabama at Birmingham's proposed $27 million General Revenue Bonds, Series 2019-A (maturing 2029) and $144 million General Revenue Bonds, Series 2019-B (maturing 2048) to be issued through the Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama. We have also affirmed the existing Aa2 ratings on approximately $403 million of outstanding debt. The outlook is stable.


The Aa2 rating incorporates the University of Alabama at Birmingham's (UAB) substantial scale, with operating revenue over $3.8 billion and total cash and investments over $2.8 billion, and role as a comprehensive public university and academic medical center. Additional strengths include strong operating performance and manageable leverage. The university's strategic plan includes launching several new degree programs that, combined with enhanced enrollment management and facilities investments, will continue to support measured gains in enrollment. Strengths in education, research, community engagement and patient care support the university's excellent strategic positioning. Donor support also bolsters the university's credit quality, and it recently completed a $1 billion comprehensive capital campaign. Offsetting challenges include high exposure to more volatile healthcare revenue, which accounts for almost half of total revenue, and participation in an underfunded pension plan. Ongoing capital needs also temper credit quality, although diverse sources of capital funding will limit reliance on debt and continue to support UAB's highly manageable financial leverage profile.


The stable outlook reflects expectations of continued strong operating performance, maintenance of sound financial reserves and manageable financial leverage. It also incorporates generally stable state operating support and measured gains in student demand.


- Significant growth of spendable cash and investments

- Ongoing gains in strength of core patient care and student market enterprises


- Decline in operating performance including the operating performance of the patient care enterprise

- Material reduction in liquidity

- Marked increase in financial leverage


The bonds are secured by pledged revenues, which are gross revenues including student tuition and fees, indirect cost recovery, sales and service of educational activities, auxiliary sales & services, endowment income and other sources. The gross revenue pledge does not include state appropriations, hospital facilities revenues or revenues restricted by donors or grantors for specific purposes. Fiscal 2018 pledged revenues of $610 million provide pro forma estimated maximum annual debt service coverage of 12.8x.


Proceeds of the Series 2019 bonds will be used for various capital improvements on the UAB campus and to pay costs of issuance. The capital improvements include student residence facilities, academic facilities, infrastructure investments, athletic improvements and property acquisition.


The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a comprehensive public university with a life sciences focus. The UAB campus comprises over 100 city blocks near downtown Birmingham, and the university is the largest single site employer in the state. Fiscal 2018 operating revenues were $3.8 billion, and the university enrolled over 23,000 students in fall 2018. The enterprise includes the University of Alabama Hospital, a 1,157 bed quaternary and tertiary care medical facility, which is part of the UAB Health System.


The principal methodology used in these ratings was Higher Education published in May 2019. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on for a copy of this methodology.


For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Dennis Gephardt
Lead Analyst
Higher Education
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street
New York 10007
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Susan Shaffer
Additional Contact
Higher Education
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

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