Students left scrambling after Regency Beauty Institute closes

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Students were devastated Thursday after learning their school, Regency Beauty Institute, is permanently closing all campuses.

The school cited multiple reasons for closing, including declining numbers of cosmetology students nationwide and a growing negative characterization of for-profit education.

"I'm angry but I'm more so hurt," said Lauren Jelen, a Regency student. "How do you just abandon that many students and families? There are people who just found out yesterday, they don't have a job and how do you even process that?"

Some students found out about the closing by text message, others showed up to class to see a sign posted on the doors of the school's 79 campuses.

"I have a baby and work two jobs to come here and better my career," said Jelen. "They told us last night at 10 p.m. you have to go somewhere else you have no school anymore."

Regency Beauty Institute has three campuses in the Chicago area located in Tinley Park, Darien, and Crystal Lake.

"They should have thought about what they did before they did it," said Jada Jones, a student. "This was unprofessional."

The cosmetology school, which has been in business for more than 50 years, posted a statement online Wednesday confirming the closing of all campuses.

"This is not another case of a school being forced to shut down because it was accused of wrongdoing. We held ourselves to high educational and ethical standards. The environment is simply not one that allows us to remain open. We diligently explored a range of strategic options that would benefit our students, teachers, and staff - and allow us to remain open. Unfortunately, those efforts were not successful," said the statement.

Sarah Clanton, a student at the school, said the school should have stopped registering students if they knew they were struggling to stay open.

"They were still enrolling people even yesterday knowing that they didn't have money to keep going," Clanton said.

Students who took out loans for thousands of dollars are wondering how they will get their money back. In a press release, the school said they would help students transfer and complete their program at other accredited schools.

No one from Regency Beauty Institute was available for comment Thursday.
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