At least there's one industry group feeling cheery these days. Apparently nothing brings more glee to the annual meeting of the Career College Association, a group of for-profit colleges, than shrinking endowments and rising tuition at traditional schools. And history suggests that they have good reason for optimism:

For-profit colleges have seen enrollment grow by an average of about 17 percent during the past nine economic downturns—when Gross Domestic Product declined and unemployment rose—compared with an average of 8 percent growth during positive economic conditions, according to an analysis provided by Stifel Nicolaus, a brokerage and investment banking firm....

As would be expected, publicly traded for-profit colleges saw revenues increase as well, generating $10 billion in the fall of 2008, an increase of 13 percent over last year, Stifel Nicolaus found.

Incidentally, according to the article quoted above, the former chairman and CEO of ITT Educational Services is named Rene Champagne, and the CEO of Devry is Daniel Hamburger. Make of that what you will.

For more on the joys of for-profit education, check out my article from the July print edition, "Education for Profit: Why Is Everyone Flaming the University of Phoenix?"