Students out thousands of dollars after beauty school abruptly shuts down without any warning
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge woman claims she is out thousands of dollars after a beauty school she was going to abruptly close its doors this week.
“School was supposed to start Tuesday… but nothing,” one student said.
The woman, who did not want to disclose her name, told us she was enrolled at Richport Technical College on Bluebonnet Blvd.
The woman recently graduated with a degree in social work from the University of Kentucky, but she decided she wanted to pursue something different and signed up to take classes to become an esthetician.
According to the documents she provided to WAFB, she enrolled in November 2022, paid her tuition in full, and was set to begin classes on Jan. 17, 2023.
On Tuesday, she received an email saying the school was closed.
“A woman from the school emailed me yesterday and told me they were permanently closed. Not a refund, or nothing. Just that they’re closed,” the woman said.
The email stated, “I apologize if you did not receive my last correspondence. Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of our control, we have been forced to close our establishment, however, we are currently working on ways to make sure our current students and students like yourself who were scheduled to start this month can go forward with your plans in the best way possible. I will inform you once a permanent decision is made so that you can complete your enrollment process if you so choose to.”
She says she received no explanation and no information about a possible refund.”The tuition was $10,300, and we had to pay it all upfront,” the student said.
The student told us the school accepted financial aid, and according to the documents, about $5900 of her Federal Pell Grant was paid to the school.WAFB sent a crew by the building, but the doors were locked and there was nobody inside.Tables, chairs, and computers were still visible from outside the building.
The woman told us she thought since the school could accept federal dollars that they were legit, but now she’s having second thoughts.
“The school is on there, so I assumed if the school was on there, then it can’t be a scam,” the woman said.She hopes she and her classmates can get the answers they deserve.”This makes no sense,” the woman said.
The woman has filed a federal claim against the school to get her financial aid money back so she can enroll into a different college.
Richport Technical College President Richard Thompson responded to our story after it aired, and provided this statement disputing the student’s claims. The statement read in part:
“I cannot express how disappointed I was to view the report… I was disappointed that a person who was enrolling in the school but had not completed her enrollment and was not yet a student but claimed to be out thousands of dollars could make such a false claim. I am also disappointed in the fact that such a claim would be declared by the inference that it was true.
I therefor want to make this false report clearly provided. We did not and have not abruptly closed down. We officially informed the students and have continued to email them of our status. We committed to them to provide a way to have them able to complete the work left to complete their programs. On Monday they will receive an email from us announcing the plan for them to complete, while we are not enrolling new students. The student paid a $200 admissions fee, and that is all. If she qualifies for Pell Grants or student loans, those funds are requested in part after the student has complete three weeks of classroom work. The student making the accusations had not been placed in the classroom. She had not received one penny from the Pell Grants. She will be provided an opportunity to take her course in Esthetics.”
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