St. Louis-based Webster University received one-notch rating upgrades ahead of its recent new-money and refunding sale for $61 million.

Proceeds of its recent issue will refund outstanding 2001 and 2005 bonds and help finance the construction and equipping of a 90,000-square foot academic building. Stifel Nicolaus & Co. served as the senior manager.

Fitch Ratings upgraded the school to A from A-minus and Moody's Investors Service upgraded the rating to A2 from A3. The school issued its bonds through the Missouri Health and Educational Facilities Authority.

"The rating action reflects the university's growing market position and sound governance and management which have contributed to continually strong operating performance and growth of financial resources," Moody's wrote.

The university's credit challenges include its heavy reliance on student charges and historically limited, but growing financial resources. The school has modest near-term capital plans to be financed through a combination of debt, cash reserves and fundraising.

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