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DeVry results drag down industry's stock prices

The Associated Press

The shares of a number of for-profit education companies tumbled Wednesday after DeVry Inc. reported falling enrollment, underscoring concerns about sagging demand for the industry.

DeVry reported after the market closed Tuesday that its fiscal third-quarter profit dropped more than 15 percent drop because of declining enrollments in its namesake school.

It and other for-profit education companies have been struggling with weak enrollment due to increased scrutiny, new regulations and the sluggish economy, which has hampered students' ability to pay for additional education.

DeVry said its new undergraduate student enrollment at DeVry University, which makes up the bulk of its business, fell 21 percent compared with the same period last year. Its overall student count fell nearly 7 percent for the quarter that ended March 31.

The company earned 90 cents per share for the quarter on an adjusted basis, beating market expectations of 81 cents per share, according to FactSet. But its revenue fell 6 percent to $508.8 million, falling short of market forecasts of $518 million.

DeVry is one of the larger players in the market so its news was enough to cause investor concern, despite a largely upbeat quarterly report from Capella Education Co. Here is a look at some of the for-profit education companies that fell on DeVry's news by late afternoon Wednesday:

— DeVry: Down $6.97, a 20.5 percent drop, to $27.06, making it one of the biggest decliners in the market Wednesday

— Apollo Group Inc.: Down 67 cents, about 4 percent, to $16.95

— Strayer Education Inc.: Down 93 cents, about 2 percent, to $47.15

— Bridgepoint Education Inc.: Down 24 cents, a more than 2 percent decline, to $10.30

— Career Education Corp.: Down 10 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $2.12.

Bucking the trend was Capella Education, which was up 78 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $35.81.