* Board authorizes investment firm to explore strategic options
* Third-quarter profit $0.03/shr vs est. $0.05/shr
* New enrollments fall 13 pct
(Adds background, results, forecast, shares)
May 6 (Reuters) - Corinthian Colleges Inc said it would explore strategic alternatives as student enrollments decline and the company faces potential legal action from U.S. regulators.
Corinthian shares were down about 7 percent in premarket trading on Tuesday, after the company reported weaker-than-expected third-quarter results.
The for-profit education company said its board had authorized the retention of an investment bank to explore its options.
Corinthian said it was also in non-compliance with certain bank debt covenants, after recording some charges in the third quarter, including a non-cash charge of $71.3 million related to continuing operations.
However, the company said it expected a waiver from its lenders.
The California-based company faces potential legal action from U.S. consumer regulators over issues related to student loans.
The company's business practices are being investigated by 13 attorneys general. A number of other investigations, including a suit filed by the state of California for misrepresenting job placement rates to its students and investors, are also in progress.
Corinthian on Tuesday reported third-quarter results that missed analysts' average estimate and forecast fourth-quarter enrollments to decline.
The company reported a profit of 3 cents per share on revenue of $349.8 million for the quarter ended March 31, missing analysts' expectation of a profit of 5 cents per share on revenue of $355.1 million.
Third-quarter student enrollments fell 13 percent to 22,853.
Corinthian shares were trading at $1.13 before the bell.
The company's shares have lost more than 30 percent in value this year to Monday's close.
(Reporting by Rohit T. K. in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)