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For-Profit Education Whisper

For-Profit Education Whisper

Research Question: Are enrollments at for-profit colleges beginning to rebound and which schools are leading the turnaround?

Companies Covered: Apollo Group (APOL), Bridgepoint Education (BPI), Career Education (CECO), Corinthian Colleges (COCO), Capella Education (CPLA), DeVry (DV), Education Management (EDMC), Grand Canyon Education (LOPE) & Others

Report Available: April 11, 2013


Blueshift’s initial research indicates a potential enrollment turnaround in the for-profit education sector, but economic factors and a negative reputation could prove difficult to overcome.



  1. Recently posted new student enrollment figures from for-profit colleges indicate a potential turnaround for the sector. DeVry’s 2Q total new student enrollment increased 5% year to year, driven by growth in the company’s medical and healthcare segment, and new undergraduate enrollment declines narrowed from the November session to the January session. Additionally, Grand Canyon’s latest earnings revealed that new student enrollment increased 8% to 9% year to year with anticipated growth of 10% for the upcoming quarter. Capella expects a 5% surge in new student enrollment, and Education Management Corp, Corinthian, and Apollo are all forecasting enrollment growth.
  2. High enrollment costs, low retention and graduation rates, poor employments results, high student-debt balances, and public scrutiny over “shameful conduct”, are current roadblocks in an enrollment revival.
  3. Blueshift’s Oct. 5, 2012 report found that enrollments at for-profit colleges will not pick up for six to 12 months. We also found that for-profit schools are beginning to revive their recruiting efforts. Strayer, DeVry, and Kaplan were singled out as having strong programs among competitors and likely to lead a recovery in the industry. One source praised DeVry’s attempts to innovate with new technologies.


To gain further insight into enrollment trends at for-profit colleges and determine which schools are best positioned for an enrollment turnaround, Blueshift will gather data and issue a market research report from sources in the following areas: education industry specialists, employees at for-profit schools, students at for-profit schools, and employees at non-profit schools.


To see other ideas Blueshift Research is currently working on, please click here.