Garrett Harris 4 p.m., Aug. 27
Profits, Student Enrollments Rise at Bridgepoint Education
Year-end numbers are in at controversial for-profit college operator Bridgepoint Education, which has drawn criticism for its student recruiting practices and unusually high dropout rates. The San Diego-based company operates brick-and-mortar universities in Colorado and Iowa, though most of its students attend primarily online classes.
Business at Bridgepoint is good. Total revenue was $933.3 million in 2011, up $220 million from 2010. Net income rose $50 million to $172.8 million, or $3.02 per share of common stock.
“I am very pleased to report that both our institutions improved the quality of the student learning experience through the increased use of innovative technologies,” said chief executive Andrew Clark in a statement released with earnings figures. “In 2011, we believe these investments in the student learning experience were responsible for improved student persistence and graduation rates, and we expect that our focus on these investments will continue to produce similar results in the future.”
No examples of the “innovative technologies” were cited, nor were graduation statistics noted. The report did, however, include information on new and overall enrollment.
86,642 students were enrolled at one of Bridgepoint’s two schools at the end of the year, an increase of nearly 9,000 as compared to year-end 2010. But the school, which runs year-round and is constantly recruiting, enrolled 13,500 new students in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone. The absence of graduation information on Bridgepoint’s site, however, makes interpretation of these numbers challenging.
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