Tag: student

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.

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

Education of the Beauty School Student

Many of us in the beauty industry have seen the disastrous effects of inadequate beauty school training. A student graduates beauty school with high hopes of doing a job that they love, only to become quickly frustrated by their inability to make a good living. The exception to this is the student who is lucky enough to have a mentor in the industry that provides them with the real education that they need to succeed. So why, after years of paid education, does a student require more on-the-job training to be a success? The answer is usually an inadequate and flawed beauty school system.
If we look at beauty schools as producers of a product then we can understand that beauty school graduates are a product that is thrown into the marketplace unfinished. The reasons for this start at the very foundation of beauty school: curriculum, requirements, intentions and corruption. First, beauty school curriculum is typically outdated and obsolete. One may assume that doing hair could not have drastically changed over the last decade or two. But with new tools and products coming out every year it becomes imperative for beauty schools to keep up with the times. The use of old textbooks and out-dated styling techniques cripples the student coming into the industry. Veteran hairstylists constantly pursue new education while beauty school students are taught the same old thing. Shouldn’t beauty schools be required to update their curriculum so that the product they produce, the new stylist, will enter the marketplace with the most up-to-date information? The answer would be yes if it were required of the schools to produce a good product.
Unfortunately, beauty schools are based on quantity instead of quality. A good quality school would be interested in producing students that have the knowledge and skills to succeed in the industry. Requirements should be based on teaching the student to run a business, be a salesperson, market their services as well as be a great stylist. Requirements based on hours alone do not come close to achieving this basic standard. Therefore, students graduate with deficiencies and become frustrated when they learn that just doing hair is not enough to build a business.
Perhaps the most flawed part of the beauty education system is the corruption of the schools. Manufacturer Schools, those that are named and based around a major name-brand product, not only have the intention of producing as many students as possible in order to gain profit from tuition, they also intend to brainwash students into being loyal to their hair products. What could be more genius than to produce students that will go out into the world selling your products for you? It is exceptionally good for the manufacturer but not so good for the stylists or the salon owner who hires them. Diversion of hair products from salon-only status to readily available anywhere has ruined the stylist’s ability to make income from sales.
We have all noticed the massive wave of diversion from products sold “at salons only” to available at all major drugstores, super markets and warehouse stores. Major manufacturers have betrayed the trust of the stylists and salon owners who have spent years supporting their products, only to be left with products sitting on the shelves. And yet these products have a huge influence on beauty school education. Not only do Manufacturer schools push the diverted products, most beauty schools become favorable to certain products based on
marketing designed to gain loyalty from the students. Little do the students know that they are being brainwashed to support a product that WILL NOT support them.
“Product Diversion” should be a required subject at all beauty schools. Students need to learn the effects of diversion on their business. For example, a good stylist/salesperson could sell around $7000 of product a month from behind the chair, which would be about half that in profit for the salon owner and 10% profit for the stylist. After the wave of diversion these numbers have drastically reduced. Consumers buy products from the grocery store. The salon owner and the stylist are losing income because of faulty training that starts in beauty school. The most tragic part of this debacle is that new students and those graduating will not even know what they have missed: an industry that supports its stylists. Until beauty schools are required to truly educate the stylist on the business of beauty, then stylist and salon owners will continue to struggle.

Joseph Kellner – The REAL Hair Truth Documentary

Martin Rodriguez

HAIRDRESSING SCHOOLS MAKING HEADWAY DURING THE RECESSION!

IFLOOKSCOULDTHRILL.COM

Have you ever been to a student beauty salon? If not, you should definitely consider it, especially if you’re looking to save a few bucks during the recession. Student salons have become increasingly popular during this time and you’re definitely in good hands, despite what you may think.

In fact, student salons have experienced supervisors on hand to watch over and answer any questions students may have. And though it may take a bit of extra time, it’s totally worth it. You wouldn’t want someone rushing through a beauty service you’re paying for no matter how skilled they are.

Another advantage of a student salon is the great specials they have throughout different times of the year. For different services that suit you best, you may find great deals from students who really care about what they are doing. And you’ll be helping them out by giving them the opportunity to have more experience.