OREANDA-NEWS. Fitch Ratings affirms the 'AAAsf' rating on the series 2013-1 notes issued from South Texas Higher Education Authority, Inc., Series 2013-1 (STHEA 2013-1). The Rating Outlook remains Stable.


High Collateral Quality: The trust collateral consists of 100% of Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans, including 17.65% of rehabilitated FFELP loans. The credit quality of the trust collateral is high, in Fitch's opinion, based on the guarantees provided by the transaction's eligible guarantors and reinsurance provided by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) for at least 97% of principal and accrued interest. The current U.S. sovereign rating is 'AAA' with a Stable Outlook.

Sufficient Credit Enhancement: CE is provided by overcollateralization (OC; the excess of trust's asset balance over bond balance) and excess spread. As of the April 2016 distribution period, reported total parity is at 110.02%. Excess cash cannot be released until all of the notes are paid in full.

Adequate Liquidity Support: Liquidity support is provided by a reserve account. The reserve is sized equal to the greater of 0.50% of the pool balance, and $500,000.

Acceptable Servicing Capabilities: The Council for South Texas Economic Progress (COSTEP) services 100% of this portfolio. Fitch deems COSTEP as an acceptable servicer of FFELP student loans.

On Nov. 18, 2015, Fitch released its exposure draft which delineates revisions it plans to make to the 'Rating U.S. Federal Family Education Loan Program Student Loan ABS Criteria', dated June 23, 2014. Fitch has reviewed this transaction under both the existing and proposed criteria.

Since the FFELP student loan ABS relies on the U.S. government to reimburse defaults, 'AAAsf' FFELP ABS ratings will likely move in tandem with the 'AAA' U.S. sovereign rating. Aside from the U.S. sovereign rating, defaults, basis risk, and loan extension risk account for the majority of the risk embedded in FFELP student loan transactions. Additional defaults, basis shock beyond Fitch's published stresses, lower than expected payment speed, and other factors could result in future downgrades. Likewise, a buildup of CE driven by positive excess spread given favorable basis factor conditions could lead to future upgrades.

Fitch affirms the following:

South Texas Higher Education Authority, Inc., Series 2013-1:
--2013-1 notes at 'AAAsf'; Outlook Stable.

No third party due diligence was provided or reviewed in relation to this rating action.