Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of for-profit educator Grand Canyon Education (Nasdaq: LOPE) were getting a lesson in what happens when you miss estimates: They fell as much as 15% after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings.

So what: After the close yesterday, Grand Canyon released results for its fourth quarter. Revenue clocked in at $100 million, a 29% jump from the prior year but short of the $105 million that Wall Street was expecting. Earnings per share -- after adjusting for one-time costs -- were $0.29, also lagging Wall Street's estimates.

Now what: The year ahead doesn't look particularly rosy, either. After revenue growth of 47% for all of 2010, the company sees 2011 revenue growth slowing to 10% to 15% for the first half of the year and 13% to 18% for the second half of the year. Grand Canyon isn't alone in feeling pressure in the for-profit education sector as government scrutiny, slowing admissions, and investor skepticism have hung a cloud over competitors such as DeVry (NYSE: DV), Strayer (Nasdaq: STRA), and Corinthian Colleges (Nasdaq: COCO). The pessimism, however, has attracted some investors to start sniffing around the sector for bargains.

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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or on his RSS feed. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.