Marinello Schools of Beauty Close in Reno, Las Vegas
The Nevada State Board of Cosmetology says all of the Marinello Beauty Schools are closing in Nevada, including one location in Reno, and two in Las Vegas.
The Marinello School of Beauty in Reno is closing its campus, along with 55 other schools in the country Thursday.
This announcement comes three days after the U.S. Department of Education pulled federal student aid from Marinello because of serious allegations.
A release from the department's Washington, D.C. office said Marinello knowingly requested federal aid for students based on invalid high school diplomas and charged students for excessive overtime and engaged in other acts of misrepresentation.
At the beauty school location in Reno Thursday, students and teachers were packing up their belongings. Last night students received the news that classes would be ending and many had an emotional response to the closure.
"It's devastating on many levels. One not just on the money, the aspect that I knew that one day I would graduate and leave that school. But I always thought that I would have my instructors to go home to. And there's no home now. So we're all kind of lost," said Stephanie Davidson, a student.
Stephanie Davidson is one of 4,300 students nationwide trying to figure out her options. The Nevada State Board of Cosmetology is assessing students individually to see whether they can transfer or apply for their licenses.
Gary Landry, Executive Director for the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology said, "Any student who has accumulated 1600 hours of credit would be eligible to take the exam. I estimate 10-15% of the total population has achieved that."
But the state board adds that certain schools only accept a minimum amount of hours and some students are too close to the end, so many of their credits are not being accepted.
"Those are particularly going to be particularly hard to place," said Landry.
Once the schools are closed, the State Board says they will assist students so they can transfer to other beauty schools or test for their licenses.
Gary Landry, Executive Director with the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology told Channel 2 News that they will receive a final report with all student hours from each school. They will then send letters out to students about their credits and their options next week.
Other beauty schools will be accepting transfer students from Marinello Schools of Beauty. But Landry adds that certain schools only accept a minimum amount of hours.
Students will have to prepare applications for other schools where they wish to attend and they will have to provide their GED or high school diploma to enroll. Students transferring will have to reapply for funding at the new schools they plan to attend.
The Department says Marinello had until February 16th to respond with enough evidence to change the decision made. The entire Marinello school chain received more than $87 million in Pell Grants and federal loans for the 2014-2015 award year, according to the Department.
Marinello's School of Beauty released a statement to Channel 2 News.
"We have compelling evidence that we think would have satisfied the department's concerns and we asked repeatedly for two months to be able to respond, but the department waited until we were past the point of no return financially to allow us any opportunity to respond to its unfounded allegations," said Rosemary Wilson, spokesperson for Marinello.
“Our students depend on higher education institutions to prepare them for careers through a quality education. Unfortunately, some schools violate their trust through deceptive marketing practices and defraud taxpayers by giving out student aid inappropriately. These unscrupulous institutions use questionable business practices or outright lie to both students and the federal government,” said Under Secretary Ted Mitchell. “In these cases we are taking aggressive action to protect students and taxpayers from further harm by these institutions.”
Nail technician Lorenia Obregon said she thinks her school wasn't involved in the violations accused, but she think justice has been served. Now she says she's willing to do what it takes to continue her dream of being an aesthetician.
Lorenia Obregon-Amavizca, a student at Marinello Beauty School in Reno said, "The instructor is not going to be the same, and the schooling is not going to be the same so it's going to be a hard transition but I have to do what I have to do in order to licensed and pursue my dreams."
Davison's graduation cap will have to be stored away until she finds another school, but she's staying optimistic about her future career too.
Davidson said, "It kind of gives me a little bit of a setback but I'm determined. I will finish my hours one way or another. And get my license."
School officials say they are working with beauty schools to arrange partnerships so students can continue their education.