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The Double-Dipper’s Guide to Student Exploitation


Tara Benitez
Groomer, New York School of Dog Grooming*  

Dermalogica Academy
140 W. 22nd St., nr. Seventh Ave. 212-243-3000
Before they go off to work in one of the city’s spas, Dermalogica’s student aestheticians offer hour-long face treatments (cleansing, exfoliation, extraction, and moisturization) for $50 at the well-respected skin-care company’s school. That’s about half of what a session with one of Dermalogica’s fully licensed aestheticians goes for. The biggest compromise you’ll make during your treatment is privacy, as students work in an open area overseen by an instructor. The program also offers waxing for upper lips for $5 and chests and backs for up to $30, but leaves bikini waxes to fully licensed pros. Savings: 50 percent

Tax Filer
CUNY Baruch Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program
Newman Library, 151 E. 25th St., nr. Lexington Ave., and other locations; 646-312-1000;
Asking an aspiring C.P.A. to do your taxes might not be the best idea for property owners or those with large salaries and a vast ledger of write-offs. But recent college grads and others with simpler financial profiles can easily look to accounting students to get the job done. As part of the IRS-sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, a CUNY Baruch accounting student will handle the taxes of anyone with an income under $49,000. Conveniently, no appointment is necessary at six of the seven locations throughout the city (call in advance for the Chinatown shop). And there is a safety net: All work is double-checked by licensed C.P.A.’s before being filed. Savings: 100 percent

Arrojo Studio
56 King St., nr. Varick St.; 212-242-7786, ext. 306
Aveda and Bumble & Bumble have better-known apprentice-styling programs, but Arrojo’s beats them in at least one regard: There’s almost always an available time slot when you want it, even on short notice. The trainee haircuts start at just $25—less than a third of what you’ll pay for a do from a just-graduated stylist, and $156 less than what one of the salon’s masters charge.The main catch is that this is no in-and-out scissor job. Because every snip is painstakingly overseen by a master stylist, you’ll need to schedule in a couple of hours for a cut, longer if you’re doing color (from $45). Savings: 65 to 95 percent

Suit and Dress Designer
Fashion Institute of Technology
Seventh Ave. at 27th St.; 212-217-7999;
When there’s one perfect dress, suit, or coat that exists in your head but not in stores, one option is to let a student-designer be your dream weaver. A more creative, collaborative alternative to expensive tailors, many talented F.I.T. students are game to whip up custom designs. On the school’s job board, students usually bite at offers starting at the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour for simple jobs, but they might charge up to $60 an hour for projects requiring intricate beading (typically the hourly rate includes labor and material). In addition to commissioning a blazer to pair with a particular sheath, say, or a tie made of fabric you picked up on a Moroccan vacation, the DIY-inclined can order up a special dress pattern to sew at home. Custom suiting is one area that, in the right student’s hands, can save you a bundle: A job that bespoke tailors would charge $3,000 for, a still-learning designer would likely do for $1,000. Savings: 40 to 66 percent

Makeover Artist
Make-up Designory
375 West Broadway, nr. Spring St. 212-925-9250;
Make-Up Designory’s trainees can help you look like a better version of yourself for a high-school reunion or not at all like yourself for a Halloween party. Between classes and private clients, the up-and-comers are often hired out by print photographers and cable-network producers, who have wised up to the fact that these students are a good value. They’ll come to your home, hotel, or event venue with fully loaded makeup cases for about $100, versus the $150 to $250 a traveling pro might charge for an application. (Just give them advance notice if your desired face requires prosthetics, which they also do.) Savings: 34 to 60 percent

Custom Jeweler
Jewelry Arts Institute
22 E. 49th St., at Madison Ave., fourth fl.; 212-362-8633
Those who want to create their own heirloom or simply prefer their baubles to be as anti-cookie-cutter as possible can commission a one-of-a-kind piece from an in-house apprentice at Jewelry Arts Institute. Overseen by a master jeweler, three apprentices work full-time honing their skills in metals and gemstones, making intricate, sparkling rings, bangles, and brooches, among other things. Though they will accept “inspiration” pictures from Vogue and the like, the preference is to create something unique, not to copy an existing design. Rates start at $40 per hour, depending on the skill level of the apprentice, the materials used (you can provide your own or have them do the sourcing), and the level of difficulty of the work. A custom silver-and-enamel brooch might set you back a few hundred dollars, while a gold-and-gemstone necklace could top $1,000. Savings: 20 to 40 percent

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