Shares of Strategic Education (NASDAQ: STRA) soared 16.6% on Thursday after the for-profit higher education leader announced stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter 2023 results.

Strategic Education ended 2023 on a high note

Strategic Education’s fourth-quarter revenue grew 12.1% year over year (12.5% at constant currency) to $302.1 million, translating to adjusted (non-GAAP) net income of $40.4 million, or $1.70 per share. Analysts, on average, were modeling earnings of only $1.34 per share on revenue of $297.5 million.

Delving deeper into Strategic Education’s quarter, student enrollment within its U.S. Higher Education segment — comprised of Capella University and Strayer University — grew 10.5% year over year to 86,233. FlexPath enrollment was 21% of that total, up from 19% from last year’s fourth quarter, and segment revenue grew 8.9% to $217.6 million.

The Education Technology Services segment — comprised of enterprise partnerships, Sophia Learnings, and Workforce Edge offerings — saw revenue increase 30.7% year over year to $21.9 million, with employer-affiliated enrollment of 27.7% of total segment enrollment. Finally, within its Australia/New Zealand segment — comprised of Torrens University, Think Education, and Media Design School — Strategic Education saw enrollment decline 2% to 19,252, while revenue fell 18.2% to $63.3 million.

What’s next for Strategic Education investors?

“As we begin a new year, we look toward continued strength in the U.S. Higher Education segment driven by employer affiliated enrollment; strong growth in the Education Technology Services segment, including Sophia subscription growth; and a return to total enrollment growth in the Australia/New Zealand segment,” stated Strategic Education CEO Karl McDonnell.

Strategic Education didn’t provide specific forward financial guidance, but it did declare a $0.60-per-share quarterly dividend payable on March 18, 2024 (to shareholders of record as of March 11, 2024).

Given its relative outperformance in Q4 and an impending return to growth from currently declining segments, it’s hardly surprising to see Strategic Education stock rallying today in response.

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Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Why Strategic Education Stock Popped Today was originally published by The Motley Fool

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