Parents demand refunds after beauty school closes

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BALTIMORE – For the past 50 years, Robert Paul Academy has taught cosmetology to students, then suddenly closed in March. However, there are unfinished business. Students are still waiting for refunds.

The reduction in enrollment and COVID-19 mandates had a financial impact on the school and the Robert Paul Academy was unable to continue to operate.

Students were informed on February 3 that the school would officially close on March 15. Several months later, parents told WMAR-2 News that they were still awaiting reimbursement of tuition fees.

One parent said he paid $ 2,625 and his daughter was only in class for three weeks, then the school abruptly closed. Her daughter did not want to transfer to the other recommended schools, but instead wanted a refund.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) oversees the state’s public and private colleges and universities and for-profit vocational schools. According to a spokesperson for the Commission, the family is eligible for reimbursement, but it is not known how long it will take.

“The repayment timeline depends on a number of factors (such as financial entity requirements, legal obligations, etc.) and will be unique for each school closure,” wrote Rhonda Wardlaw, Director of Communications. from MHEC, in an e-mail. at WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii.

Sofastaii asked where the money for the refunds came from.

MHEC requires private vocational schools to provide financial security in the form of a bond or letter of credit. If this does not cover reimbursements, MHEC can dip into its guarantee fund for tuition fees.

“It is imperative that the Maryland Higher Education Commission can rely on its due diligence to protect students, before any private vocational school closes,” said the higher education secretary of the Maryland, Dr. James D. Fielder. “Before a private vocational school is even allowed to operate in Maryland, the institution is required to provide financial guarantees to ensure the protection of students in the event that the institution is closed. These essential measures allow the protection of students before the student embarks on a private school class career. “

Fifty-one students were enrolled in the school at the time of the closure. To date, nine reimbursement requests have been submitted.

And in the past two years, 11 college and private vocational schools in Maryland have closed.

“MHEC anticipates that more claims will be filed in the coming months, so the total of all reimbursement claims is still pending. Once the refund request is received, MHEC reviews the accompanying documents to ensure the student is eligible for a refund and that the requested amount is correct before disbursing funds, ”Wardlaw wrote.

In the meantime, if you have a complaint with a college, university, or private vocational school in Maryland, your first step is to file a complaint with the institution.

If this is not resolved, you can file a complaint with MHEC by click here.


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