For many people, becoming a hair stylist, colorist, or cosmetologist is a dream career. It’s a path that is quite different than spending four years in college and taking a desk job.
A role in a salon allows you to work with their hands, meet new people, and create beautiful looks. Top stylists can make up to $45,000 a year, so it can be a way to make a good income without getting a bachelor’s degree.
But the appeal of a career in cosmetology also makes it rife with scams. Though there are hundreds of reputable schools across the country, there are also many schools that rob students of their hard-earned money and leave them without any job prospects.
Even after shady schools close or shut down, many former students get stuck paying the price of cosmetology school loans. Here’s what to watch for, and how to find student loans for cosmetology school that are legit.
One of the largest cases against a cosmetology school involved the Jon Louis School of Beauty in New York. The school was accused of misusing federal student loan funds and targeting low-income and non-English speaking students, saddling them with debt in order to make a profit.
Jon Louis and other similar schools have closed, but some students still face cosmetology school loans. Others paid thousands of dollars and took out loans to go to school, but never received the necessary training and credentials.
Students report being unable to pass state licensing exams and only qualifying for unskilled jobs in the salon, such as hair washing or cleaning at the end of the day. Many are unemployable after graduation, and end up taking low-paying jobs in fast food or retail to make ends meet.
The issue is ongoing. Just this past year, the Department of Education cut off federal loans and grants to dozens of beauty schools, alleging that the institutions falsified records.
Identifying a reputable beauty school
Natyssa Taras is a licensed hairstylist with Simplicity salon in New York but is also a regional educator with Eufora International. After years in the business, she stresses that potential stylists do their homework before choosing a school.
“Aspiring hair stylists looking at beauty schools should first look for accreditation,” says Taras. “This comes from the state in which the school is located, their board of education, as well as licensing groups like the New York State Beauty School Association.”
Accreditation is a key indicator that the school prepares students for employment after graduation. Additionally, Taras recommends that potential students visit schools in person.
“It’s always best to visit the school. Websites can only tell you so much,” explains Taras. “Talk to teachers about continued education after graduation, job placement, and apprenticeships. Instructors should be state-certified, as each state has their own program for professionals to become licensed cosmetology instructors.”
Cosmetology school loans
The cost of beauty school can vary, depending on the location and the school’s brand.
“The average cost in my area of New York is $12,000 for a 36-week program,” says Taras. “A ‘brand’ school like Paul Mitchell, Sassoon, and others will cost more, but beware of paying a premium for a name only. Do your research and talk to current students and alumni if you can.”
Schools can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 in tuition, with additional expenses for room, board, and textbooks. When it comes to paying for school, an accredited school gives you more options. Most federal loans are only available if the school you choose is an accredited institution.
If your school has the required credentials, you apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you have a lower income, you may qualify for Pell Grants to help cover the cost of your education, which you do not have to pay back.
Even if you don’t qualify for a grant, federal student loans have a low interest rate and offer repayment programs that can make your monthly payments affordable. Always see if you are eligible for a federal student loan first. If it’s not an option for you, start researching private loans from reputable lenders.
In other cases, the schools may offer financing themselves or offer payment plans to make it easier on you, such as through cosmetology school loans. To protect yourself, thoroughly research your intended school and talk to alumni to ensure the institution is legitimate.
Your next steps
Entering a career in cosmetology can be rewarding and provide you with a good income. Unfortunately, in recent years, the industry has become flooded with disreputable schools and loan scams.
If you are considering attending beauty school, make sure you understand the necessary accreditation in your state and the qualifications you need to find a job after graduation.
If you’re ready to start school but need help paying for it, check out private student loans for cosmetology school that can help you cover your tuition and other school expenses.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
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1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.49% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
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3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.48% effective April 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.49% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 6.65%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.41%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.11%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|