Scam Beauty Schools Targeted Poor Women

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Photo: Corbis

Hundreds of New York City women are in debt as a result of fraudulent scholarships from local beauty schools, including Jon Louis, the Wilfred Academy and Beauty Culture, and Robert Fiance Hair Design. According to a New York Times investigation, all three schools targeted low-income women, women of color, and non-English speakers in order to secure federal financial aid and leave students with the loans, which have no statute of limitations on collection and are difficult to relieve. The schools have been closed since the nineties, after accusations and indictments that they misused federal-student-loan money, but decades later the students are still facing thousands of dollars of debt, with their credit wrecked and insufficient preparation to pass the state’s licensing exam.“The proprietors of these schools retained the profit from taxpayer dollars, but these individuals are the ones left holding the bag,” Eileen Connor, a lawyer with the New York Legal Assistance Group, the nonprofit organization representing dozens of women who attended the schools, told the Times. A small silver lining? The Education Department has been speedily discharging loans since the Times started calling.

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