Net Interest Expense and Related Balances
The Company incurred net interest expense of $7.8 million and $22.4 million for the third quarter and first nine months of 2017, compared to $7.9 million and $22.5 million for the third quarter and first nine months of 2016. At September 30, 2017, the Company had $493.0 million in borrowings outstanding at an average interest rate of 6.3% and cash, marketable equity securities and other investments of $936.0 million.
Provision for Income Taxes
The Company’s effective tax rate for the first nine months of 2017 was 31.3%, compared to 28.9% for the first nine months of 2016. The low effective tax rate in the first nine months of 2017 is due to a $5.9 million income tax benefit related to the vesting of restricted stock awards. In the first quarter of 2017, the Company adopted a new accounting standard that requires all excess income tax benefits and deficiencies from stock compensation to be recorded as discrete items in the provision for income taxes. Excluding this $5.9 million benefit, the overall income tax rate for the first nine months of 2017 was 35.9%.
In the third quarter of 2016, a net nonrecurring $8.3 million deferred tax benefit related to Kaplan's international operations was recorded. In the second quarter of 2016, the Company benefited from a favorable $5.6 million out of period deferred tax adjustment related to the KHE goodwill impairment recorded in the third quarter of 2015. Excluding these adjustments, the Company’s effective tax rate for the first nine months of 2016 was 36.4%.
The Company is in the process of finalizing an international legal restructuring plan in the fourth quarter of 2017 that may have an impact on the Company's tax provision in the fourth quarter of 2017 related to deferred taxes provided on undistributed earnings of investments in non-U.S. subsidiaries.
Earnings Per Share
The calculation of diluted earnings per share for the third quarter and first nine months of 2017 was based on 5,554,458 and 5,566,874 weighted average shares outstanding, compared to 5,573,982 and 5,599,898 for the third quarter and first nine months of 2016. At September 30, 2017, there were 5,531,816 shares outstanding. On May 14, 2015, the Board of Directors authorized the Company to acquire up to 500,000 shares of its Class B common stock; the Company has remaining authorization for 163,237 shares as of September 30, 2017.
Kaplan University Transaction
On April 27, 2017, certain Kaplan subsidiaries entered into a Contribution and Transfer Agreement (Transfer Agreement) to contribute Kaplan University (KU), its institutional assets and operations to a new, nonprofit, public-benefit corporation (New University) affiliated with Purdue University (Purdue) in exchange for a Transition and Operations Support Agreement (TOSA) to provide key non-academic operations support to New University for an initial term of 30 years with a buy-out option after six years.
Subject to the terms and conditions of the Transfer Agreement, KU, which specializes in online education and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC), will transfer certain assets of its Title IV-authorized and accredited academic institution to New University. New University will operate as a new Indiana public university, as authorized by the Indiana legislature, affiliated with Purdue University and focused on expanding access to education for non-traditional adult learners.
New University will initially consist of the seven schools and colleges that now comprise KU (excluding the Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education (KU-PACE)), which together offer more than 100 diploma, certificate, associate, bachelor, masters and doctoral degree programs, as well as 15 campus and learning center locations. Current online and campus KU students, approximately 30,000, will transfer to New University. Current full-time and adjunct faculty and staff at KU, approximately 3,000 employees, will also transfer to New University. New University will be governed by its own board of trustees that will fully control all of the functions of New University, the members of which will be appointed by Purdue. Upon approval by its accreditor, New University will have its own institutional accreditation and maintain its own faculty and administrative operations.
In addition, as part of the transfer of KU’s academic institution, students, academic personnel, faculty and operations, and property leases for KU’s campuses and learning centers, KU also will transfer Kaplan-owned academic curriculum and content related to KU courses (collectively and including such specific assets as described in the Transfer Agreement, the “Institutional Assets”). The transfer does not include any of the assets of KU-PACE, which provides professional training and exam preparation for professional certifications and licensures, nor does it include the transfer of other Kaplan businesses such as Kaplan Test Preparation and Kaplan International.
Kaplan will receive nominal cash consideration upon transfer of KU’s Institutional Assets. In exchange for KU’s Institutional Assets, upon closing of the transactions contemplated by the Transfer Agreement, the parties will enter