Concentration of Credit Risk. Cash and cash equivalents are maintained with several financial institutions domestically and internationally. Deposits held with banks may exceed the amount of insurance provided on such deposits. Generally, these deposits may be redeemed upon demand and are maintained with financial institutions with investment-grade credit ratings. The Company routinely assesses the financial strength of significant customers, and this assessment, combined with the large number and geographical diversity of its customers, limits the Company’s concentration of risk with respect to trade accounts receivable.
Allowance for Doubtful Accounts. Accounts receivable have been reduced by an allowance for amounts that may be uncollectible in the future. This estimated allowance is based primarily on the aging category, historical collection experience and management’s evaluation of the financial condition of the customer. The Company generally considers an account past due or delinquent when a student or customer misses a scheduled payment. The Company writes off accounts receivable balances deemed uncollectible against the allowance for doubtful accounts following the passage of a certain period of time, or generally when the account is turned over for collection to an outside collection agency.
Investments in Marketable Equity Securities. The Company’s investments in marketable equity securities are classified as available-for-sale and, therefore, are recorded at fair value in the Consolidated Financial Statements, with the change in fair value during the period excluded from earnings and recorded net of income taxes as a separate component of other comprehensive income. If the fair value of a marketable equity security declines below its cost basis and the decline is considered other than temporary, the Company will record a write-down, which is included in earnings. The Company uses the average cost method to determine the basis of the securities sold or reclassified out of other comprehensive income.
Fair Value Measurements. Fair value measurements are determined based on the assumptions that a market participant would use in pricing an asset or liability based on a three-tiered hierarchy that draws a distinction between market participant assumptions based on (i) observable inputs, such as quoted prices in active markets (Level 1); (ii) inputs other than quoted prices in active markets that are observable either directly or indirectly (Level 2); and (iii) unobservable inputs that require the Company to use present value and other valuation techniques in the determination of fair value (Level 3). Financial assets and liabilities are classified in their entirety based on the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measure. The Company’s assessment of the significance of a particular input to the fair value measurements requires judgment and may affect the valuation of the assets and liabilities being measured and their placement within the fair value hierarchy.
For assets that are measured using quoted prices in active markets, the total fair value is the published market price per unit multiplied by the number of units held, without consideration of transaction costs. Assets and liabilities that are measured using significant other observable inputs are primarily valued by reference to quoted prices of similar assets or liabilities in active markets, adjusted for any terms specific to that asset or liability.
The Company measures certain assets—including goodwill; intangible assets; property, plant and equipment; cost and equity-method investments—at fair value on a nonrecurring basis when they are deemed to be impaired. The fair value of these assets is determined with valuation techniques using the best information available and may include quoted market prices, market comparables and discounted cash flow models.
Fair Value of Financial Instruments. The carrying amounts reported in the Company’s Consolidated Financial Statements for cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, accounts receivable, accounts payable and accrued liabilities, the current portion of deferred revenue and the current portion of debt approximate fair value because of the short-term nature of these financial instruments. The fair value of long-term debt is determined based on a number of observable inputs, including the current market activity of the Company’s publicly traded notes, trends in investor demands and market values of comparable publicly traded debt. The fair value of the interest rate hedge is determined based on a number of observable inputs, including time to maturity and market interest rates.
Inventories and Contracts in Progress. Inventories and contracts in progress are stated at the lower of cost or net realizable values and are based on the first-in, first-out (FIFO) method. Inventory costs include direct material, direct and indirect labor, and applicable manufacturing overhead. The Company allocates manufacturing overhead based on normal production capacity and recognizes unabsorbed manufacturing costs in earnings. The provision for excess and obsolete inventory is based on management’s evaluation of inventories on hand relative to historical usage, estimated future usage and technological developments.
Property, Plant and Equipment. Property, plant and equipment is recorded at cost and includes interest capitalized in connection with major long-term construction projects. Replacements and major improvements are capitalized; maintenance and repairs are expensed as incurred. Depreciation is calculated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the property, plant and equipment: 3 to 20 years for machinery and equipment; 20 to 50 years for buildings. The costs of leasehold improvements are amortized over the lesser of their useful lives or the terms of the respective leases.