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American Public (APEI) to Unveil Weekend Nursing Classes at HCN

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In order to address the nursing shortage in the nation, American Public Education, Inc.’s (APEI - Free Report) subsidiary Hondros College of Nursing (“HCN”) will introduce evening/weekend classes for its Practical Nursing Program in Toledo/Maumee, OH.

The new batches, which will begin in January 2020, are meant to provide greater flexibility to students engaged in jobs or family responsibilities and are unable to accommodate a traditional weekday schedule.

Rationale for the Program

Per the American Nurses Association’s 2018 report, the nursing segment is expected to create more jobs than any other profession by 2022. Notably, HCN programs help students to acquire various skills required at healthcare institutions, from performing lab tests to monitoring IV therapy and patient care.

Additionally, students will get an opportunity to explore clinical and simulation practice with interactive manikins during the second semester of the course.

American Public Education is highly focused on introducing new courses and programs with various schedule options, in order to capture prospective students. The company has already launched such classes in Columbus/Westerville, Cincinnati/West Chester, Cleveland/Independence and Dayton/Fairborn.

Depressingly, in second-quarter 2019, its top and bottom lines declined 3% and 23.1%, respectively, on a year-over-year basis due to lower contribution across the segments. Particularly in HCN, revenues were down 21.6% year over year owing to low enrollments. Total enrollment in the segment dropped 24% and new student enrollment fell nearly 35% from the prior-year period.

For the third quarter, it expects HCN’s total and new student enrollment to decline 29% each from the year-ago period. Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have declined 24.2% against its industry’s 28.5% rally in the year-to-date period. American Public Education has been facing two primary operational challenges, namely achieving satisfactory enrollment and regulatory hurdles.

The company has undertaken various initiatives to overcome these challenges. In this regard, it has launched a direct entry associate degree in nursing/ADN. The company has improved offerings by redesigning its courses to increase interactivity in classrooms. Also, it has revised application and assessment processes to enroll students with greater college readiness. The HCN segment has also introduced changes in its curriculum, which is likely to boost student enrollment in the future.

Markedly, the recent move, backed by the said initiatives, will likely boost the company’s performance going forward.

Stocks to Consider

Some better ranked stocks in the same space are Career Education Corporation CECO, Laureate Education, Inc. LAUR and Lincoln Educational Services Corporation LINC. While Career Education sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Laureate and Lincoln carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stock here.

Career Education, Laureate and Lincoln are expected to generate long-term earnings growth rate of 15%, 15%, 12%, respectively.

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