Investors may be booing rising unemployment when it comes to consumer spending, but some companies actually benefit from job cuts -- like newcomer Bridgepoint Education ( BPI). The company, which provides adult education services, was lauded by Jim Cramer during his "Mad Money" segment on Friday as a "safe way to invest in adult education." Cramer noted that when people lose their jobs they often go back to school, a trend that is proving to be fruitful at Bridgepoint. The company saw total student enrollment at its academic institutions, Ashford University and University of the Rockies, soar 115% to 42,025 in the first quarter. Bridgepoint, whose IPO took place in April, also said that its revenue more than doubled to $84.3 million from $39 million during the quarter ended March 31, while earnings remained relatively flat at $3.9 million, or 3 cents a share. But what truly makes Bridgepoint stand out among its competitors, such as Apollo ( APOL), Corinthian Colleges ( COCO) and DeVry ( DV): Its suition is 30% to 50% lower than the others, and its marketing costs only account for 35% of expenses, Cramer said. While the company is only up $2 from its IPO price, it is growing faster than its peers. Bridgepoint expects its student body to double in size in 2009 and is trading at just 14 times its earnings despite its 20% growth potential. The company also expects full-year earnings in the range of 87 cents to 90 cents a share.
The downside: The Obama administration may be targeting the sector, as its companies are taking government loans and grants and using that money largely for marketing, not educational, purposes, Cramer said. Shares Bridgepoint are up 3% in morning trading to $12.90, while Apollo jumped 3% to $60.88, DeVry grew 2% to $44.32 and Corinthian increased 2% to $15.65.