AUSTIN (KXAN) — Ronald Stephens did not picture his last day of school coming early. He’s one of more than 500 students the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation estimates attended Regency Beauty Institute in Texas. This week, the cosmetology school shut down all 79 of its locations nationwide, including one in Austin. Some students tell KXAN they got little notice and the news came as a surprise to staff as well.
“The students and the teachers, we’re a family and to know that we’re not going to see each other anymore, that we’re scattering throughout Austin trying to find where to go, I’m sad on that part,” said Nature Nunez, another former student.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation is currently working with students to place them in other schools. On Friday night, the TDLR website listed six schools in Austin that would take displaced students.
“How did this happen? In short, the organization does not have the cash to continue to run the business,” Regency Beauty Institute posted to its website. “There are multiple intertwined reasons: Declining numbers of cosmetology students nationwide, a negative characterization of for-profit education by regulators and politicians that continues to worsen and, in light of these factors, an inability to obtain continued financing.”
KXAN News looked into notice requirements ahead of a school closure. Schools with differing missions fall under various accrediting agencies and departmental oversight. Regency was accredited through the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences. That organization requires a school to give 30-days notice to the commission for a planned closure. However, in the event of an unplanned closure, a school is required to supply notice and further plans after the shutdown.
“Although NACCAS has been in communication with Regency, and the U.S. Department of Education, in recent months concerning Regency’s financial status, at no time did Regency ever indicate that it was considering an imminent closure of its schools,” Darin M. Wallace, director of government relations and legal department for NACCAS, wrote in an email to KXAN News.
Other types of schools will follow differing guidelines for closure notice.
The Department of Education is also working with students who received student loans to figure out their next steps.