Bridgepoint Education Earnings: An Early Look

Earnings season is winding down, with most companies already having reported their quarterly results. But there are still some companies left to report, and Bridgepoint Education (NYSE: BPI  ) is about to release its quarterly earnings. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks releasing their quarterly reports is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

Bridgepoint Education is one of many for-profit educational companies that has come on hard times in recent years, as government scrutiny and falling enrollment across the industry have sent stocks plunging. But are all players in the space truly the same? Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Bridgepoint Education over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report on Tuesday.

Stats on Bridgepoint Education

Analyst EPS Estimate

$0.28

Change From Year-Ago EPS

(36%)

Revenue Estimate

$217.6 million

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

(1.7%)

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

2

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will Bridgepoint Education teach its investors well this quarter?
Analysts haven't changed their estimates on Bridgepoint at all in recent months, leaving their calls for the just-ended quarter and full-year 2013 unchanged. The stock has also been stuck in neutral, falling about 2% since early December.

For-profit educational institutions have struggled lately because of extreme levels of scrutiny. While ITT Educational Services (NYSE: ESI  ) and Corinthian Colleges (NASDAQ: COCO  ) have faced attention from the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Bridgepoint has had to deal with a Justice Department inquiry. Concerns about high student-loan default rates have led to controversy about whether the education truly has the value that the extensive marketing campaigns that many schools use to attract students claim it does.

But Bridgepoint stands out from the crowd because of its success in bucking the enrollment-decline trend. Over the past three years, Bridgepoint has managed to gain in enrollment and boosted its student count by more than 11% last year.

Less than two weeks ago, Bridgepoint got some mixed news, as its Ashford University retained its accreditation. Although a group under the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges warned that Ashford hadn't created a substantial presence in its region, it recognized that Bridgepoint expects to be in compliance by July and has also sought alternate accreditation from another similar group.

In its quarterly report, look closely at Bridgepoint's latest enrollment and default figures in an attempt to see if the company is continuing to distinguish itself from its competitors. With the shares beaten down so far, Bridgepoint has a lot of room to move higher if it can convince investigators that it's the best of the bunch.

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