ITT Educational's shares also may have been boosted by takeover rumors.
Carmel-based ITT Educational's shares shot up as much as 9.5 percent, to $63.30, in heavy morning trading. Peers Apollo Group, Corinthian Colleges Inc. and Career Education Corp. saw gains of 5 percent, 6 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively.
The gains were welcome news for an industry beaten down by concerns over the national credit crisis. In January, Sallie Mae Corp., the nation's largest student-loan provider, said it no longer would extend credit to subprime borrowers.
That announcement sent stock prices of all for-profit educators tumbling. Even at this morning's peak price, ITT Educational's shares were off 52 percent from their all-time peak, reached in November.
The current price might be low enough to spark talk of a takeover. Theflyonthewall.com reported "unconfirmed takeover chatter" concerning ITT Educational this morning.
The House Education and Labor Committee yesterday approved a bill that would raise borrowing limits for students and allow the government guarantee agencies to act as lenders of last resort.