What happened

Shares of Grand Canyon Education (NASDAQ:LOPE) were soaring 12% higher in morning trading Wednesday after the for-profit education provider trounced Wall Street's expectations.

So what

For-profit education was long seen as mix of unfit schools that looped students into a cesspool of debt for degrees that weren't worth the paper they could be ink-jet-printed on at home. Grand Canyon was different and has overcome adversity since its days as a not-for-profit educator, including earlier this year when short-seller Citron Research published one of its famed hit pieces on the company.

There was a lot that was left to be desired in the piece, though, and Grand Canyon's second-quarter earnings report seems to vindicate the institution.

College graduates hugging each other

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Revenue rose 3% to $185.5 million in the quarter as enrollment at university partners -- primarily its own Grand Canyon University -- increased 8.2% to 98,326. It reported adjusted earnings of $1.03 per share, well ahead of the $0.86 per share analysts anticipated.

However, it provided guidance saying third-quarter revenue would be around $197.5 million, which is below the consensus estimates of $204.5 million, with adjusted earnings of $1.11 per share, well under the $1.26 per share Wall Street was forecasting. 

For the full year, though, guidance was for $5.47 per share in adjusted earnings compared with the consensus outlook of $5.35 per share.

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.