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For-profit colleges and universities could see an increase in their share of the higher education market this year, said an analysis by Jeff Silber, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets Research.

Based on preliminary data for nearly a quarter of higher education institutions released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center last week, undergraduate enrollment at four-year for-profits is down 1.9 percent this fall compared to a year ago, while for-profit graduate enrollment is up 9.1 percent. Silber forecasted strong enrollment growth at colleges run by American Public Education Inc. and Grand Canyon Education Inc.

In comparison, the enrollment figures for-profits were much better than the overall 2.5 percent decline in undergraduate students or a 3.9 percent overall increase in graduate students reported by the clearinghouse.