A national chain of beauty schools with a few chapters in the greater-Sacramento area was officially shut down Thursday morning, accused of running a fraudulent scheme to keep its enrollment numbers up.
Ashley Green was well on her way to a career in cosmetology, that is until her entire beauty school closed down, seemingly overnight.
"Wednesday, we came to school, still no answers. And this morning we get an email stating the schools been closed," Green said.
A note on the Sacramento location's door on Garfield Avenue echoed the same message.
Marinello School of Beauty with branches in Sacramento, Stockton, and Napa shut its doors nationwide, a network that included 56 schools and 4,300 students nationwide.
Thursday, Green, who's already completed 400 credit hours says, she and others don't know what their next move will be.
"I've already put in time and money, and cut my hours at work. No one will give us answers as to what's happening or what we can do," Green said.
Marinello closed after the U.S. Department of Education cut off all student aid money to the school system.
To enroll in Marinello, students either needed a high school diploma or could enroll in a program Marinello coordinates with a nationwide prep school called Parkridge.
These enrollees would then earn a diploma at an accelerated rate, before beginning at Marinello.
The Department of Education claims many Marinello students were never given Parkridge coursework whatsoever, and say other students were given answers to tests preemptively, all so Marinello could keep its enrollment numbers up.
"It's a little like being arrested for something and not being told what you're accused of," said Joe Hixson, a Marinello national spokesman.
Hixson denies the company was running a scheme. He says the Department of Education has been cutting off their students' aid for two months.
"At the same time, they put out a press release telling the world what they were accusing us of, that was the first time they told us," Hixson said.
Huxson says the schools are shutting dow, not because they're guilty of defrauding students, but because the department of ed has bled their students of school funds.
Green and her mother are not buying it.
"They don't send an email on Monday and close their doors on Thursday, if there's not some guilt there," said the student's mother, Kim Green.
Green can't get her time back, but the family hopes to recover some of their tuition dollars, which might, they say, lead them to a courtroom.
Marinello says they'll help their former students enroll in other cosmetology schools. Wednesday of next week, the Sacramento location will open to all students who have questions about the shutdown.