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TMCNet:  Fitch Maintains Nelnet Student Loan Trust 2012-1 Sr. Notes on Negative Watch; Upgrades Subs

[March 20, 2014]

Fitch Maintains Nelnet Student Loan Trust 2012-1 Sr. Notes on Negative Watch; Upgrades Subs

NEW YORK --(Business Wire)--

Fitch Ratings maintains the Rating Watch Negative on the 'AAAsf' senior notes and upgrades the subordinate notes to 'AAsf' from 'A+sf' issued by Nelnet Student Loan Trust 2012-1. The Rating Outlook remains Stable for the subordinate notes.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

High Collateral Quality: The collateral consists of 100% Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans (including 10.4% of rehabilitated loans as of February 2014). 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.

Rating Watch Maintained: 'AAAsf' rated tranches of U.S. FFELP student loan ABS (News - Alert) are maintained on Rating Watch Negative following the revision of the U.S. sovereign rating on Oct. 15, 2013.

Sufficient Credit Enhancement (CE): CE is provided by overcollateralization (OC; the excess of trust's asset balance over bond balance), excess spread, and for the class A notes, subordination provided by the class B notes. As of February 2014, senior and total parity is at 104.32% and 101.40% respectively. The trust is currently releasing cash at its cash release level of the greater of 1.38% OC and $2,000,000.

Adequate Liquidity Support: Liquidity support is provided by a Debt Service Reserve Fund currently sized at $686,727.

Acceptable Servicing Capabilities: National Education Loan Network, Inc. is the Master Servicer, with Nelnet, Inc. acting as subservicer. Fitch believes National Education Loan Network, Inc. and Nelnet, Inc. to be acceptable servicers of FFELP student loans.

Initial Key Rating Drivers further described in the presale report published on May 2, 2012.

RATING SENSITIVITIES

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 and basis risk account for the majority of the risk embedded in FFELP student loan transactions. Additional defaults and basis shock beyond Fitch's published stresses 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 has taken the following rating actions:

Nelnet Student Loan Trust 2012-1:

--Class A at 'AAAsf'; Rating Watch Negative maintained;

--Class B upgraded to 'AAsf' from 'A+sf'; Outlook Stable.

A comparison of the transaction's Representations, Warranties & Enforcement Mechanisms (RW&Es) to those of typical RW&Es for that asset class is available by accessing the appendix that accompanies the initial Presale Report. Please refer to 'Nelnet Student Loan Trust 2012-1 - Appendix', published on May 2, 2012 at www.fitchratings.com.

Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.

Applicable Criteria and Related Research:

--'Global Structured Finance Rating Criteria' (May 24, 2013);

--'Rating U.S. Federal Family Education Loan Program Student Loan ABS Criteria' (May 17, 2013);

--'Nelnet Student Loan Trust 2012-1 (US ABS)' (May 2, 2012);

--'Nelnet Student Loan Trust 2012-1 - Appendix' (May 2, 2012);

--'Representations, Warranties, and Enforcement Mechanisms in Global Structured Finance Transactions' (April 17, 2012).

Applicable Criteria and Related Research:

Global Structured Finance Rating Criteria

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=708661

Rating U.S. Federal Family Education Loan Program Student Loan ABS Criteria -- Amended

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=708795

Nelnet Student Loan Trust 2012-1 (US ABS)

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=678369

Nelnet Student Loan Trust 2012-1 - Appendix

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=678416

Representations, Warranties, and Enforcement Mechanisms in Global Structured Finance Transactions -- Amended

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=676496

Additional Disclosure

Solicitation Status

http://www.fitchratings.com/gws/en/disclosure/solicitation?pr_id=824502

ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: HTTP://FITCHRATINGS.COM/UNDERSTANDINGCREDITRATINGS. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON (News - Alert) THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEBSITE 'WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM'. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF THIS SITE. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE.


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