Cosmetology Students Benefitting From Stimulus Funds

By Staff
August 31, 2009

The federal government is granting stimulus money to beauty schools throughout the country, and cosmetology students are taking advantage of the increased aid.

The Houston Chronicle reports that so far this year, $3.8 million in federal stimulus money has been awarded to barber and beauty colleges in Texas' five largest counties. The money is part of the more than $225 million in Pell Grants that have been given to the state to assist low-income students attending post-secondary schools.

"It was a good idea that he [President Obama] gave out more money for the grants because it allows people who are not well off to get a little money to go to school to build a career," said Sheronda Jackson of Missouri City, 39, who is attending Royal Beauty Careers in Houston with the help of a Pell Grant.

Michelle Van Leeuwen, financial aid administrator for the school, explained that previously, qualifying for Pell Grants was based on family income. But the new Recovery Act allows financial aid officials to take into consideration whether a person was laid off. Without the grants, she said, "a lot of those students would be stuck out there in the job market."

Similarly, the Lufkin Daily News [from an article originally located at] in Texas reports that students at the Academy of Hair Design are receiving additional financial assistance as well. According to Vice President Carroll Lewing, students qualifying for full financial aid can receive more than $8,900 to complete the 1,500-hour cosmetology program and pay for the licensing test.

"The stimulus package has helped cover more costs and provide students with a better education by allowing us to put more instructors on the floor," Lewing told the Daily News.

He noted that that financial aid plays an important role for students deciding whether to enroll. "Students can pretty much come and get a free education to turn their life around," he said.

Meanwhile, the Merced Sun-Star in California reports that the Sierra College of Beauty was awarded more than $150,000 in educational grants this year, allowing about 55 cosmetology students to receive $1,000 more in financial aid.

"It pays for their education," noted Tami Whiteley, the school's director of financial aid. "It's a good thing."

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