At this time last year, Marinello Schools of Beauty, owned by B&H Education Inc., closed all 56 of its campuses, after the U.S. Department of Education said the for-profit cosmetology school was improperly allocating federal student aid money. Campuses in California, Nevada, Utah, Kansas and Connecticut had 4,329 students enrolled at the beginning of January 2016.
In a letter to students, Marinello Chairman and CEO Rashed Elyas said they had done everything in their power to avoid this unfortunate conclusion and to keep the schools open. Marinello worked to arrange partnerships with other schools that would enable students to complete their coursework.
Several of the displaced students found their way to the Sassoon Academy in Santa Monica, CA. We asked them to share their experience because their stories are of perseverance and the determination to complete their education.
Kellie Anne Cullen is from Millbrae in San Mateo county.
“I was 3.5 weeks and 150 hours from completing my 1600 hours in the cosmetology course. I was set to graduate exactly on my 10 month mark. I even started as a night student but transferred to full time and was determined to graduate at my soonest possible date by not taking any time off and making up any excusable missed time. I even had a job lined up at the salon and was set to start March 1st. My set graduation date was February 27. It came out publicly on the news February 1st and we were told nothing was wrong, it is just allegations. On Thursday February 4th I woke up to an email stating dear student effective today all Marinello's will be closed.
"I was frantic. I had set a huge goal and was so far into my training. I had put over 8 months of my life without a job so I could put school first that would allow me to start a career that I love and so badly wanted to pursue and be a part of. I went and packed up my things from school and immediately came home and started calling other schools in the bay area to transfer to.
"No school really had any answers for me because the school closure was so fresh they didn't know what to do. I finally found a few private schools that would accept my hours but they were all very small and I was worried about their credibility and education. I ended up packing my apartment and life up and moving all the way to Santa Monica to finish my school at Vidal Sassoon. I didn't know anyone or anything but I made the choice to face my fear, move away and graduate from a prestigious school."
And her advice for someone in a similar situation?
"Don't give up no matter what! Don't quit before the miracle happens! Do not let anything get in you way or prevent you from following your dreams. School is hard and can seem repetitive and at the time I thought boring but those skills have helped me in every aspect of my job. Packing up my life even when I was scared out of my mind was the best decision I have made. I love my career today and am so happy. I might have come to a major roadblock by Marinello closing but I didn't give up and I now have a license and career. Even starting out I might be at the bottom and not making as much as I want but I know my passion and how much I love making people feel even more beautiful I will be successful one day. The beauty industry was my dream and I just never gave up and it is a great place to be!"
Holland A. Wells from Glendale, CA is a single mom with two young daughters. She was five months into the cosmetology program at Marinello Beauty School in Palmdale, CA when 200 students were told their school might be shutting down, immediately.
‘Without further hesitation, I called Head of Cosmetology Stephani Patterson at Sassoon Academy and made an appointment for a consultation that very same day.
“Sassoon Academy helped quickly evaluate my current situation. Considering how chaotic and emotional this event was in my life, the staff at Sassoon Academy genuinely cared and put a plan together to fulfill my dreams. Opportunities can come to those who seek it and work hard for it."
Kelsey Rodgers of Kelsey Ville, CA. is a mother of two who lives in Lancaster, CA and commuted 2 to 3 hours each way to school.
“I was less than half way through my training when Marinello closed. I was very scared that everything I knew was being taken away. I knew I had to continue my education, so I looked up one of the best schools I knew about.
“I have had an amazing experience with Sassoon and have definitely grown as a person and as a hair artist.”
Margarit “Margo” Hayrapetyan lives in North Hollywood, CA and moved to the USA 11 years ago.
“About a year ago one of my best friend, told me try to study in cosmetology. First place when I was thinking it was Vidal Sassoon, but this Academy was really far away from my home. At that time, I chose the Marinello school close to my area. The Sassoon Academy staff are a very professional staff, who kindly helped me.
“All I want to say is, whoever wants to become a hairdresser, they should come to Vidal Sassoon Academy.”