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Strategic Education Outruns Peers & S&P 500, Surges 59% YTD

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The year 2019 has turned out to be an encouraging one for Schools industry. Year to date, the industry has rallied 33.8% compared with the S&P 500’s 15.2% increase. Meanwhile, Strategic Education, Inc. STRA, which belong to the same industry, has gained 58.8% so far this year.

We believe there is still momentum left in this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock. This is because the company has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 15% and a VGM Score of B. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Strategic Education apart, stocks such as Grand Canyon Education, Inc. LOPE, Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc. (BFAM - Free Report) and Bright Scholar Education Holdings Limited BEDU, which belong to the same industry, have also gained 27.7%, 26.6% and 8.1%, respectively, in the past six months.

Let’s delve deeper into the reasons that have kept Strategic Education ahead of its peers.

Key Catalysts

Capella University consistently invests in introduction of programs as well as specializations to improve student outcomes. Continuous innovation and course updates expand its product portfolio, which in turn, boost enrollments and drive long-term growth. Currently, the company is focusing on providing programs based on a “competency-based learning model and direct assessment capabilities”.

One of these innovations is FlexPath. Notably, FlexPath continues to be one of the company’s fastest growing programs as it allows students to focus on leveraging their skills and knowledge gained during professional hours. Increased enrollment in bachelors and master degree programs under FlexPath is likely to drive Strategic Education’s top line in the near term.

In the meantime, Strayer and Capella Universities have been exhibiting stellar enrollment results, which is commendable. Both the universities reported solid first-quarter 2019 operating results, wherein new student enrollment increased a respective 13% and 15%, while total enrollment grew 11.5% and 3.5% each. Notably, Strayer University's new student enrollment growth represents its 10th consecutive quarter of new student growth.

At Capella, FlexPath has been quite successful and now constitutes 30% of Capella's bachelor and master's degree enrollment. New FlexPath enrollments grew 52% and total FlexPath enrollments increased 43% from the prior-year quarter. FlexPath enrollments now represent one-third of all non-doctoral students at Capella.

Moreover, Strayer as well as Capella University’s educational programs are specifically designed to meet the educational needs of working adults in targeted professions.

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