"We don't need no education" hardly applies here.

The hunger for higher education is strong these days, and not just for the post-high school set. Sylvan Learning Systems (NASDAQ:SLVN), one of a handfull of for-profits addressing that need through campus-based and online universities, posted a 48% increase in third-quarter revenues and a 43% increase in enrollments as students signed on with gusto.

With the job outlook dismal, it's little wonder the school business is good. Workers are looking to boost their skills and beef up their resumes, and for-profits like Sylvan are cashing in. Still others have thrown in the towel for now and are opting to get advanced degrees while waiting for the outlook to brighten.

Sylvan and its peers are onto something big: online courses. These hold particular appeal for working adults who can't always be "present" in traditional classrooms. Others offering similar services include Apollo Group (NASDAQ:APOL), best known for its University of Phoenix (NASDAQ:UOPX), which also reported a jump in enrollments and profits recently, Corinthian Colleges (NASDAQ:COCO), and DeVry (NYSE:DV).

What might set Sylvan apart is its expertise in overseas markets. The company runs campus-based universities in Europe and Latin America. Earlier this year, Sylvan decided it would, in fact, "leave them kids alone" and exited the K-12 market.

For the quarter, Sylvan earned $5.4 million, or 12 cents per share, compared to a loss of $5.7 million, or 9 cents per share just a year ago.

Alyce Lomax welcomes your feedback at alomax@fool.com.