What happened

For-profit educator Career Education Corporation (NASDAQ:PRDO) reported its Q3 2019 earnings after close of trading last night. With trading resumed this morning, Career Education stock is off to the races -- up 14.5% as of 10:35 a.m. EST.  

Heading into earnings, analysts had predicted Career Education would report $0.24 per share in profit on $146.7 million in sales. Instead the company earned $0.33 per share (pro forma) on sales of $155 million, beating on both the top and bottom lines.  

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Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Career Education grew its student enrollment 6.1% in Q3, and its revenues from those students by 6.4%.

"Adjusted" earnings (the ones the beat-or-miss decision is based on) grew 32% year over year. But profits as calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) grew, too -- up 19% to $0.25 per diluted share.

CEO Todd Nelson said the results "reflect how we have further underscored the value proposition of our academic institutions while emphasizing student retention and academic outcomes." It didn't hurt that they showed pretty impressive growth for shareholders, either.

Now what

Career Education wrapped up with an improved outlook through the end of this fiscal year, predicting that Q4 adjusted earnings will range from $0.27 to $0.29 per share, and GAAP earnings will be right behind them -- $0.26 to $0.28.

All those numbers are well ahead of the $0.24 per share consensus estimate on Wall Street, which gives investors just one more reason to cheer today.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.