Back In School: Bad Economy Helps Apollo Education (APOL)

Unemployed from an industry that’s lurching towards irrelevance? You might not find a good job, even once the economy comes back. Apparently, thousands like you are deciding that now’s the time to get some new skills. You know, basic accounting, IT, nuts and bolts stuff. The winner: private education.

We mentioned this trend back in October, and noted that the shares of companies like Apollo Education (APOL) and DeVry (DV) were holding up better than most. And they’ve been doing solid since then.

Apollo is up 11% today to a new 52-week high after reporting some very solid numbers. Revenue was up nearly 25%.Net income up 30%. The company didn’t tie it all to the economy, but it believes it’s helping:

“Our year-end momentum carried into the first quarter of fiscal 2009 as we continue to benefit from the significant investments we have made over the past several years and we are very pleased with our results,” said Chas Edelstein, Chief Executive Officer of Apollo Group. “We reported year-over-year operating income growth of approximately 40% on 24% revenue growth, and Degreed Enrollment reached a record 384,900 students during the quarter. While we cannot quantify the significance of the current economy on our growth, we believe we are experiencing a positive impact, and we continue to generate meaningful cash flow. Additionally, our growth is directly impacted by the efforts of our thousands of employees and faculty who are dedicated to providing great academic service and support to our students.”

Mr. Edelstein continued, “Our flagship University of Phoenix contributed significantly to our results, and we are very pleased with the continued growth in bachelor degree seeking students, which is an important market for us. In the first quarter, new degreed enrollment of bachelor students grew close to 20% over the prior year. We are making progress in our other investment areas as well including our online high school, Insight Schools and Apollo Global.”

Of course, there will always be education snobs who think that the only places worth going to school are non-profit, centuries-old institutions in the northeast. But Apollo seems to be managing its finances better than Harvard, Yale and Princeton these days, no?

See Also:
Will Job Seekers Go Back To DeVry?

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