Tag: cosmetology

A $21,000 Cosmetology School Debt, and a $9-an-Hour Job (Part one)

 

When she was in cosmetology school, Tracy Lozano had a love-hate relationship with weekday mornings. Those predawn moments were the only time she saw her infant daughter awake, and she savored them. When the time came to hand the baby to her own mother, she said in a recent interview, she would stifle her tears, letting them roll only when she had closed the door behind her.

She would put on her game face when she pulled into the parking lot of the Iowa School of Beauty, just outside Des Moines. From what Ms. Lozano could tell, a cosmetology license was a realistic way to ensure a better life, and she was willing to make sacrifices. While also working nights at a Pizza Hut, she borrowed $21,000 to cover tuition and salon supplies and put in eight-hour days at the school for the better part of a year.

The amount of time Ms. Lozano spent learning to give haircuts, manicures and facials was enormous, but the requirement was set by the state, and she didn’t much question it. She was determined to earn enough money to move out of her mother’s house. Only a few weeks after getting her cosmetology license in 2005, she was hired at a local Great Clips.  The job, though, paid just $9 an hour, which meant that her days double-shifting at Pizza Hut weren’t over. Even with tips, Ms. Lozano didn’t earn more than $25,000 in any of her first few years as a cosmetologist. For years, she relied on food stamps and health insurance from the state. She couldn’t cover living expenses and keep chipping away at her loan payments. Thirteen years after graduating, she still owes more than $8,000.

What Ms. Lozano didn’t know was that the state-regulated school system she had put her faith in relies on a business model in which the drive for revenue often trumps students’ educational needs. For-profit schools dominate the cosmetology training world and reap money from taxpayers, students and salon customers. They have beaten back attempts to create cheaper alternatives, even while miring their students in debt. In Iowa in particular, the companies charge steep prices — nearly $20,000 on average for a cosmetology certificate, equivalent to the cost of a two-year community-college degree twice over — and they have fought to keep the required number of school hours higher than anywhere else in the country.

Each state sets its own standards. Most require 1,500 hours, and some, like New York and Massachusetts, require only 1,000. Iowa requires 2,100 — that’s a full year’s worth of 40-hour workweeks, plus an extra 20. By comparison, you can become an emergency medical technician in the state after 132 hours at a community college. Put another way: An Iowa cosmetologist who has a heart attack can have her life saved by a medic with one-sixteenth her training.

There’s little evidence that spending more hours in school leads to higher wages. Nor is there proof that extra hours result in improved public safety. But one relationship is clear: The more hours that students are forced to be in school, the more debt they accrue. Among cosmetology programs across the nation, Iowa’s had the fourth-highest median student debt in 2014, according to federal data.

Walk into any hair salon in Iowa and you’re likely to find a stylist making $10 an hour who loves her job but is struggling to pay off her student loans. Over 10 months, in visits to a dozen salons and in conversations with 37 former Iowa cosmetology students — and an additional 25 in other states — we heard a variety of opinions about how much training the profession requires and the financial returns it offers. And we heard again and again how the dream of becoming a professional hairstylist, or someday owning a salon, can be stymied by debt.  The issue is national. More than 177,000 people enroll in for-profit beauty schools across the United States each year, which on average charge more than $17,000 for tuition, fees and supplies to earn a cosmetology certificate.  Across the Iowa border, in Fremont, Neb., Ashley Sandoval makes $10.50 an hour at another Great Clips location. In the five years since she graduated from cosmetology school, she said, interest has ballooned her debt from $22,000 to $29,000. “I’ll be paying it off for the rest of my life,” Ms. Sandoval said.

The Iowa Cosmetology School Association, which acts on behalf of several of the 13 companies that own schools in the state, would not make a representative available for an interview. But the association did provide written responses to questions through its lobbyist, Threase A. Harms. The group said that its primary concern was successfully preparing students, not making money, and that differences in state regulations made comparing hours difficult. The association also doesn’t see the crippling student debt as the schools’ fault, citing the fact that students are allowed to take out more in loans than is necessary to cover educational expenses. “We have students graduating with minimal debt because they made wise choices,” the association said.

Cosmetology schools have a unique business model in the for-profit school world. They have two main streams of revenue. The first comes from students, often in the form of taxpayer-funded grants and loans to pay for the tuition. Cosmetology schools took in nearly $1.2 billion in federal grants and loans during the 2015-16 school year.  The second stream is the salon work the students do while in school. They spend some time in classrooms learning about, for example, chemicals and how to sanitize the work space, but once they’ve hit a certain number of hours, they start working on real clients in salons run by the schools. In full-time programs, going to school becomes a full-time job, where students clock in and out for seven- or eight-hour shifts.

The total number of required hours varies, but all states require some amount of practice with paying customers. In Iowa, students spend 715 hours in the classroom and 1,385 hours on the floor.

Prices for these salon services — which include haircuts, manicures, facials and, at some schools, massages — are typically set below market rates to attract customers. The salons also sell shampoo, conditioner and other beauty products. One Iowa student said he and others had gotten perks (such as trips and special training) if they sold enough products. Another student, who sued a school in Pennsylvania, reported that her grades were partly based on whether she offered salon products to clients.  The schools don’t have to pay students for the services they provide; in fact, the students pay tuition for the hours they work in the salons.

All told, for-profit cosmetology schools nationwide brought in more than $200 million in revenue from their salons in the 2015-16 school year, according to federal statistics. Most schools are small, privately owned entities that do not have to disclose their profits.  “Without the revenue coming from those salons, most of these schools wouldn’t be profitable, or it would be marginal,” said Leon Greenberg, a lawyer in Las Vegas who has examined the financial documents of several schools he unsuccessfully sued under the Fair Labor Standards Act. “It’s pretty much ingrained in their business model.”  Some schools have pushed their business models to the legal limit — and beyond, according to government regulators.

La’ James International College owns six of the 27 cosmetology schools in Iowa, plus one in Nebraska and another in Illinois. Iowa’s attorney general sued the school in 2014, accusing it of defrauding students through deceptive marketing and enrollment practices. Under a settlement, the school admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to forgive almost $2.2 million in student debt. It had to pay a $500,000 fine, and the owners — Cynthia Becher and her son, Travis Becher — had to personally pay fines of $25,000 each. The federal government also placed La’ James under restrictive monitoring for alleged mishandling of students’ financial aid. (The Bechers declined to comment on the suit.)

Lisa Shaw, a former La’ James massage instructor, said Ms. Becher had met with staff members regularly and often told them, “This is a business first, and a school second.”

Ms. Shaw and Bez Lancial-McMullen, a former La’ James cosmetology instructor at the campus in Davenport, Iowa, recalled attending meetings in which company officials spoke of the need to maintain sizable profits. Students were regularly pulled out of Ms. Lancial-McMullen’s classes to work in the salon, she said. Other complaints submitted to the attorney general’s office about the school describe similar practices, although the Bechers have consistently denied the claims.  Both women eventually resigned because they objected to the way students were being treated. Ms. Shaw left in 2014, saying the company’s owners looked at students “as dollar signs.”  “I feel like the school is predatory,” Ms. Shaw said. “I could no longer be a part of taking people’s money and then treating them like that.”  Stephanie Wood Becher, who is the school’s director of marketing (and Travis Becher’s wife), denied that Cynthia Becher would ever tell employees to put the school’s business needs first.  “Education and betterment of the student is always and has always been the #1 priority for her and L.J.I.C.,” Ms. Wood Becher wrote in an email.

La’ James had to open its books during the attorney general’s lawsuit, revealing annual profits that ranged from $1.2 million to $3.4 million from 2009 through 2012. In Iowa, tuition, fees and supplies for its cosmetology program come to $21,500 per student.  Compared with other institutions, “I think we’re cheap,” Mr. Becher said, noting that the cost includes books and supply kits. “We’re private. We’re not public. We don’t get tax breaks.”  The Becher family also owns more than a dozen limited liability companies, which include a distribution center for its salon products. In 2017, the United States Department of Education reprimanded La’ James for failing to publicly disclose a rape in a dorm in Nebraska. Federal law requires colleges to publish annual security reports and logs about crimes on campus, which La’ James failed to do, “exposing students and staff to potential harm,” according to government reviewers.Joni Buresh, the school’s compliance officer, said in an email that the security reports were available to students, and that she believed that the law requiring crime logs didn’t apply to campuses like the one in Nebraska.    She acknowledged that a rape had been reported to the police but said that school officials “honestly are not confident that this rape incident ever occurred.” Ms. Buresh said they had now filed the paperwork requested by the federal reviewers.

END OF PART ONE.

Cosmetology Schools, Salons Square Off Over Battle To Change Licenses

A bill to overhaul training standards for cosmetologists was lying dormant until it suddenly gained momentum this month, passing out of a House committee. Now opponents are scrambling to rally against the bill, saying it waters down the license. But supporters argue that this bill is needed to help the state’s salon industry thrive. “So if I don’t want the bleach to touch this part of the hair I’m gonna use the foil to block it.” Katie Groezinger is meticulous, as she lays one narrow strip of foil after another onto her client’s hair. She’s standing next to her salon chair at The Spa School in Worthington. Groezinger, a cosmetology student, then grabs a small brush and begins to add another layer of color to a different strip of hair.  “We’re making her regrowth a little darker,” said Groezinger. She’s doing what’s known as a balayage. It’s a new, trendy technique that darkens a person’s hair starting at the roots and gradually works its way down, transitioning to a different color, in this case a lighter blonde. “Brightening it back up for spring.”

Groezinger is 300 hours away from earning an advanced cosmetology license, a license that would be eliminated if a bill that’s sitting in the Ohio House were to pass. “I will put our 1,500 and 1,800 hour education up against anybody in the United States, we teach complete cosmetology,” said Sue Carter Moore, president emeritus of the Salon Schools Group, which provides training for cosmetologists.  “And to reduce that for self-serving salon owners and national chains who wish to have fast graduates is absolutely wrong,” she said.  The proposed change to cosmetology standards in Ohio is comprehensive. Along with reducing instruction hours and getting rid of the advanced cosmetology license, it eliminates the natural hairstyling license and other advanced licenses dealing with nail and skin care.  Because the bill deals with so much, there are several voices sounding off for and against the measure. But perhaps the most heated debate is between two groups; Carter Moore and her association of private cosmetology schools versus salons.  Elizabeth Murch represents the Ohio Salon Association, which firmly supports the bill. She says these changes are crucial to keep up with a growing need for cosmetologists.  “The main crisis isn’t moving to 1,000 hours the main crisis is that schools are closing; the Dayton area has been hit significantly with school closures which then provides difficulty for any salon to find qualified individuals to work,” Murch said.

She says this is the standard that’s already in place for anyone getting a cosmetology license from a public vocational and career tech schools. Murch argues that 1,000 hours is an adequate amount of time to teach students about safety and sanitation measures, which she says are the only thing the state should be regulating. “The standard cannot be unfair and we should be legislating safety and sanitary practices entering this profession. We cannot legislate a good haircut,” said Murch. “I’m personally offended,” Carter Moore replied. Carter Moore with the Salon Schools Group says that’s dramatically underselling the value of cosmetology education. “This business is constantly evolving with different products new techniques and new chemicals that we’re working with,” Carter Moore added. As Murch points out, EMTs, police officers, nurses, and tattoo artists are all required to participate in significantly less instruction.

She adds that people can get extra education on the salon floor as employees rather than students at expensive private school that can take a long time to pay off. “Most of that 500 hours is made up on the clinic floor where the students are providing services not being paid but they are providing services and the school is making money,” said Murch.  Carter Moore says students get real first-hand experience at a school rather than being relegated to assistants in salons. She adds that the advanced licenses give students the confidence to go straight to starting their own business without signing contracts with salons. So, as Carter Moore puts it, this bill can help salons reduce competition.  “When you have people go into a salon loft as an independent contractor it certainly does dry up the pool of available employees for the chain salons and I’m going ‘gee’ maybe that’s what’s behind this legislation,” Carter Moore said.

Murch says there’s nothing stopping the cosmetology schools from still teaching a 1,500-hour course. Carter Moore says they can do that but students will still only walk away with a state license that says they completed 1,000 hours of instruction.  Back at The Spa School, Groezinger doesn’t regret the 1500 hours of instruction she’s received, saying it’s a craft that needs to be honed.  “I don’t think 1,000 hours is enough for anyone to be professional at what they’re doing I don’t think a doctor would be like ‘hey you got 1,000 hours of anatomy you can go cut someone open.”

The bill also allows the state to recognize a cosmetology license from any state that requires 1,000 instruction hours or more. But, as Carter Moore points out, if lawmakers approve the changes then an Ohio license won’t qualify in other states with higher standards, including every state that borders Ohio. The bill has passed a House committee and now awaits a vote in the full House chamber before moving to the Senate.

Whats the big deal everyone?

Everyone is in a fluster about many states in the U.S. looking over the option of deregulation of the cosmetology license. How many times have we heard this, and how many times have we gained no interest within the profession. Interest is being gained by the PBA (Professional Bullshit Organization) and also from beauty school mills within the beauty industry.

Why? It’s all about money, money, money. Not a standard of professionalism. Here is the criteria of a hairdresser in europe. And this criteria of a european hairdresser has been this way for many , many years.

Europe has some of the best cosmetology schools in the world.  Hairdressers are at the top of the scale!
A minimum of 4 years of education only focused on hair and coloring! That includes that you also becomes a color specialist.  Compared to so-called beauty schools in th U.S. a 7 month course that qualifies you as a hairdresser after a 1,000-hour program which have you out and working in the field in as little as 7 ½ months. With no focus on only hair. But a slice into different fields as shown!

Haircutting and styling, Hair coloring and lightning, nail care, skin care, hair and scalp disorders, chemistry as applied to cosmetology, anatomy and physiology, health and safety?, professional requirements, makeup. With all of this education are you really a hairdresser, haircolorist, makeup artist, facialist, nail tech? No you are not. It takes time to learn all of these trades. But in America if you have a license you are titled as such. A hairdresser in europe who has 5 years of education and time in service in their field can run rings around an America hairdresser.

But they don’t need a license. They don’t need some one coming in there salon inspecting, they are grown ups, they can do it on their own. But like in any other profession you have the good and the bad. Getting rid of  a cosmetology license will only make the cream of the crop rise even further, and will also make beauty schools more accountable for their teaching. If you want to make a good living and have no conscious of how you treat people open up a beauty school. And do the work of the Devil.  Our industry has been plagued by beauty schools, organizations, and pulpit teaching preachers about how bad the new cosmetology student is. All they want is want and want,  the industry proclaims! Well read some emails I have received about how human beings are treated in the beginning phases of my profession.

WHAT DOES A BEAUTY LICENSE PROVIDE?

 

” I just recently dropped out of the Colorado Springs Paul Mitchell School because they honestly don’t know what they’re doing. The learning leaders pick favorites and treat everybody like dirt. They gossip about students and other staff members. They don’t teach us anything once we leave core.
Financial aid is a big joke!! They steal your money.  Why is it that when money is dispersed to a student, that money goes into the financial aid leader’s personal bank account and then she cuts you a check, if you’re lucky, from there? I have so much missing money, its ridiculous.. I have about $800 in my account right now that’s mine, but they wont give it to me|. There’s always a different excuse as to why I can’t have it.
I could go on and on but there’s too much;. The school is dirty and unsanitary. No one cleans after themselves and the learning leaders constantly leave food lying around. This school is a huge joke and I can’t wait until it is investigated and shut down. What a wonderful industry you have”.

My advice to you is, “when it’s a consistent practice among multiple schools under the same organization at different locations it’s become a problem, their problems are just a tip of the iceberg of the endless list of atrocities”.

” I enrolled my daughter to this school thinking it would be professional and would treat my daughter with respect and kindness.Instead she earned 1100 hours at the school and was bit by a brown recluse spider and got a staph infection. They would not take a leave of absence or medically withdraw her from the program and instead withdrew her and said she owed them 11,000. Why do you think I sent her to school but to earn a career! Instead they are ripping us off and any other college would appeal the financial aid with draw medically and financial aid would take this”. Paul Mitchell School – The CAO Institute/Paul Mitchell partner/Alhambra, Ca

“I went to Paul Mitchell Chicago, for approximately 6 months.I had to take some time off for personal reasons and took a leave for about a month and also had missed a few days here and there. That being said, when I decided to quit the school for many reasons. I was told that I must pay the full $20,000 since my ‘scheduled’ hours exceeded 75% of completion. However, my loans went in increments of $5,000 every 25% of completion; leaving me with $5,000 to pay out-of-pocket. I attended this school back in September 2009 and when I left the school in April 2010 I received one letter from the school stating I owed them $5,118.50 on 11/1/2010. I have received another letter from their lawyer stating I am now sent to a creditor threatening to ruin my credit and I owe them $5,513.14. How they got this number I have no idea since they didn’t explain the totals. I am writing all this information because I cannot believe how a business could come after a young adult for more money when I’m already paying back my student loans of $15,000 for absolutely NOTHING. This was a horrible institute, horrible ‘teaching’ staff and horrible experience all together”. It is my biggest regret in life and now these greedy people are going to ruin the rest of my life because they want more money from me that I do not have”.

Has anybody been in this situation? It’s such a wonderful industry!!!!!!!

Love You All

Joseph Kellner

Ivan Zoot Interviewed For The Documentary THE REAL HAIR TRUTH!

 

Ivan has been a hairstylist, educator, and leader in the professional salon industry for over 20 years.

Ivan is licensed both as a cosmetology and a barber professional. His experiences range from working as a trainee in a large day spa salon to owning his own high-volume family hair cutting business. Along the way he has created wildly popular hair care products, invented unique hair cutting and styling tools and techniques, and earned three Guinness World Haircutting records.

Zoothair.com

Clipperguy.com

Dr. Frank Elliott Donor For The Real Hair Truth Scholarships!

Dr. Frank Elliott is a hairdresser and make-up artist with over thirty years of experience. His industry titles include: manufacturer’s technical representative, platform artist, competition artist, chief proctor for the Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology, and salon owner.

Dr. Frank earned his PhD. in Workforce Education and Development from The Pennsylvania State University, where he was a lecturer for ten years. He has taught Leadership and Professional Development for state and federal government, university, and industry organizations.

Dr. Frank has just released a ground breaking new book The Other Side of Hairdressing. “The Other Side” is where beauty professionals tap into and take control of the innate learning functions that serve us throughout our lives. Expand your client market-base, supercharge your career, and realize your true earning potential on The Other Side of Hairdressing.

The Other Side of Hairdressing
As a teaching tool for salon owners, get your new hire off to a running start with The Other Side of Hairdressing. Have them read Linda’s story and then monitor their progress as they move through the Taking Control section. Slash the time usually needed for developing a new stylist so they can become a valuable part of your salon team now.
As a learning tool for new salon employees, give yourself an edge you’ll never regret. Don’t sit around waiting for experience to come to you. Take Control of your own professional situation now. You know what you want. You have a dream. Learn from The Other Side of Hairdressing how to get to your dream.

As a team-building tool for experienced hairdressers, get the salon team onto common ground by sharing ideas about The Other Side of Hairdressing. Discuss your new adventures and grow together. Share your successes in furthering your Beauty career, work and live on The Other Side of Hairdressing! Is based on a philosophy of taking control of your career through self-understanding and choice.

The Real Hair Truth Thanks Frank Elliott for his donations.

 

Your Story Will Be Heard!

JosephKellner.com

Orlandomakeup.com

Its time to talk about nature and the every growing numbers of the creature known as the AO. Because of the situation of our financial jungle; many creatures have begun to examine quality instead of the “throw-a-way” attitude that prevailed a few years ago. We tend to question and really look to see if the products we purchase and beliefs that cost us money are performing as they say. Do they work?  The AO has the ability to disorient its prey and make its potential victim believe anything it says with out the natural process of questioning.

In the graceful but wild beauty industry spotting an AO is not difficult. Understand, there are no distinct markings, they can be young or old any sex or race. So how do you spot this creature? You spot an AO not by sight but by sound. You must listen to what they say and especially how they say it.

Yes it’s the verbiage of the notorious Anal Ostrich that gives him or her away. Around the Anal Ostrich you’ll hear things like “ABC is the best company!”, “ABC has the best products!” and the constantly heard “I wouldn’t use anything but ABC!” These are the most serious signs of an Anal Ostrich due to the fact that the OA’s eyesight is nearly non existent. Its world is dark and self-reliant to the host it finds itself attached to. Now for many the confident sounds of the AO may begin to calm and lure you in but this is where caution is needed!

Now you may be asking yourself,  “what’s wrong with crediting this ever common AO with conviction?”  Is it wrong to think and feel like the AO? And if so why does the beauty industries great water holes, also known as salons, seem to flourish with these creatures?”

To understand this breed one needs to go back to the root and beginnings of the AO.  Most younglings do not begin as AO’s but start off as FT’s or Free Thinkers. Although there are some exceptions those beginnings usually begin at the nest or what’s commonly referred to as the “cosmetology schools”.  But these schools often attract the very dangerous LM predator of the large manufacturer species. LM’s know that fresh meat is easily available and lie in wait for the FT younglings. LM’s will begin to distract the young FT with attractive sights, sounds and smells, none of these actually contributing to the growth and advancement. Once distracted the LM strikes with great precision emitting a mind numbing poison. Although the Free Thinking youngling entered the water hole wide-eyed for knowledge and full of questions the poison’s effect begins and the FT starts to turn off its natural process of questioning and testing for itself.

The FT’s terminology quickly changes and phrases like “let me see” or “I want to see for myself” are replaced with a single resounding “They say”.  At that point the FT closes its eyes and inserts its head into the rear of the LM and the transformation is complete!

The story above may seem like a little satire over a small and insignificant problem that the beauty industry is seeing but it goes much deeper. Understand that hair stylists are artists of the highest degree. They are individuals who live for the chance to create. To make something that visually associates or better yet defines an idea, place, or time. Some of the most influential stylists were created in a time when great chance was taking place. The sixties and seventies saw a time when artists were using their talents to buck the system and to break out of society imposed ideas of how “the normal” man or woman should act, dress and look. Unfortunately when large chemical manufactures saw the rise of influence hair stylists had on fashion and the money that could be generated things changed. Now what used to be just brands have become the sole factor of influencing a young artist. Just think…Aveda, Redken and Paul Mitchell are not just tools a student may use to find his way creative side but actual schools that tell students that “ABC is the only and best way of doing something. Personally I heard one veteran stylist remark how frustrating it was when she hired a young girl who recently graduated out of the Paul Mitchell Academy. She explained that the girl could not find a PM salon in the immediate area and was looking for a job. Once hired all she did was talk about “PM this” and “PM that.” She commented on how it was like this girl was brainwashed and could not understand simple color formulation with a color wheel and any companies color books. The girl would repeat all the time, “That’s not the way we did it at PM”. “To me you can either formulate or you can’t!” I don’t care to hear about how any particular brands colors do when you don’t have that in your salon. Because of understanding the basics and because of the American Board Of Certified Haircolorists I can formulate any color.

So before you drink the cool aid, lubricate the sides of your head and prepare for the big insertion think why you want to go to that school. Now please don’t think I’m saying that these and other big companies don’t have good products because they do and I even use some from different ones but there is a reason why I’m using them and it’s not because someone told me. If I’m using something it due to the fact that I took the time to see if it fit into my creative arsenal.

Thank You Sir! Bullseye

Paul Barry Interviewed For The Real Hair Truth Documentary

 

Paul Barry, president and co-founder of Barristar Productions, became a hairstylist in 1964. 
In 1966 he received his California cosmetology instructors license and also opened his first salon. 

From 1971-1992, Paul owned and operated the largest salon in Orange County. During this time Paul traveled extensively for major product manufacturers including Redken, Clairol and John Paul Mitchell systems.

In 1987, being tired of the travel, Paul. joined by his wife Georgia, co-founded Barristar Productions. Together they have produced numerous trade shows dedicated to the betterment of the cosmetology industry.   Our trade shows are designed for cosmetology students and instructors and are based on education. 

UPCOMING SHOWS

Orlando, Fl – March 14, 2010

Anaheim, Ca – March 28 – 29, 2010

 

Phoenix, Az – April 18 – 19, 2010

 

Minneapolis, Mn – May 2, 2010

Pasadena, Ca – September 26 – 27, 2010

Indianapolis, IN – October 24, 2010

BARRISTAR.COM

P.O. Box 627 • Newport Beach, CA 92661

(949) 673-4245 • 800 SHOW-432 • Fax (949) 673-2542

Barristar.com