Moody’s Investors Service Monday upgraded the underlying rating for Hastings College of Law bonds to A1 from A2. The upgrade affects $8.1 million outstanding bonds issued in 2003 and also applies to a $26.1 million bond issue tentatively planned for later this month.

The new bonds will finance a multi-level parking garage for the downtown San Francisco school that will include ground-level retail.

Hastings is a public, stand-alone law school that is formally affiliated with the University of California. It has what Moody’s describes as a sizable and stable enrollment of about 1,200 full-time equivalent students and strong demand for admission.

The bonds are backed by the college’s pledge to pay debt service from all legally available revenues, which excludes state appropriations.

“Despite significant increase in leverage with this borrowing, the college’s financial resources still provide sound coverage of debt and operations, and revenue generated by the bond-financed parking facility is projected to more than cover increased debt service,” the Moody’s report said.

Ambac Assurance Corp. wraps the law school’s outstanding bonds. Moody’s provided the only underlying rating.

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