Professors are generally regarded as a stodgy and humorless bunch. But don't be fooled by the straight faces. These guys can be a barrel of laughs.
Take the folks at ITT Educational Services
Ready for the punch line? ITT says -- with a straight face -- that the resignation was "unrelated to any of the matters in the ongoing government investigation of the company."
Har-har! Stop it, ITT! You're killing me!
Seriously, this is all very reminiscent of the goings-on at co-for-profit-educator Corinthian Colleges
So what's an investor to do? Despite all the scandals, for-profit educators are still raking in money, stealing market share from public institutions one day, co-opting them the next. Here's my take on the situation, and I will warn you that it is a controversial one: I suspect Wall Street is overreacting to the investigations -- at least in ITT's case.
You see, if the feds' suspicions prove correct, then one of two things could be going on. Either ITT misled investors with inflated enrollment figures, or ITT misled students with promises of good grades, easy graduation, and lucrative post-study careers. Or both. (Or neither.) The array of risks for ITT shareholders is frightening to behold. They range from SEC-imposed fines, to payouts to abused shareholders, to loss of federal education loan privileges for its students, to a loss of accreditation for its courses.
That said, these risks have been mostly priced into ITT's stock, the company remains uncharged with any crime, and the company's valuation is starting to look tempting. (More on that last part tomorrow.)
Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no interest in any of the companies mentioned in this article.