Modesto Cosmetology Students Scramble after Hair Academy Suddenly Closes

MODESTO -- Movers packed up salon chairs and other equipment at the Toni & Guy Academy in Modesto on Friday, less than 24 hours after they announced to students they were closing the school for good.

“I feel like my career is just coming to an end. That’s what I feel. It's heartbreaking,” said student Sarah Tedore. “And how everyone kept it from us and it was just a big, old lie. It's pretty sad.”

Dozens of students attended the cosmetology school because it was a Toni & Guy franchise -- a well-known name.

But according to the Toni & Guy U.S. corporate office, the school's brand affiliation ended last year but the local owner never took down the sign and just put up a Hairology Institute banner underneath it.

Now students like Tedore, with hundreds of hours of work under their belt, are stuck in limbo about how to move forward.

“They're just shutting the doors without any notice, no nothing,” Tedore said.

Despite enrollment banners and signs still up, FOX40 spoke to an employee at the school who confirmed the sudden shutdown. According to the staffer, who is also now out of a job, students were given their transcripts and proof of training Thursday night when the announcement was made.

But former students like Wendy Verreras say they're not only out of a school but also out money.

“They owe me $619 to be exact. It impacts my daily life,” Verreras said. “I have a child, I have bills, I have food that needs to be put on the table.”

She and other students showed up to the academy Friday, hoping to retrieve important documents they say are missing from their transcripts.

“They gave us some of our paperwork but it's not complete and they're not here to fix it,” Verreras said.

Tedore says even if she's able to get her paperwork, she'll still be out hundreds of hours of work, delaying her from getting her license.

“As of now, Paul Mitchel is only going to accept 400 hours at the most. So I'm going to have to start back from ... I have 600 so that's like four months back,” Tedore said.

Frustrated students say they just want their completed files so they can try to transfer into different cosmetology schools and do their best to get back on track.

“I want them to do what’s best by their students and give us the paperwork that we need, the information that we need,” Verreras said. “I wish that they would communicate better with us and not just shut us out.”

Students say while this is a hardship, it ultimately won't stop them from pursuing their dream.

Toni & Guy USA sent a statement to FOX40 about the closure later Monday:

The hairdressing schools located at 1019 S Main Street in Manteca, CA and 2425 McHenry Ave, Suite A in Modesto, CA were a part of the TONI&GUY Hairdressing Academy franchise family from 2011 to 2018, when the franchise relationship ended.

We were working with the independently owned and operated schools to remove TONI&GUY branding to eliminate any confusion and we were saddened to hear about their abrupt closure. Our top concern remains assisting students displaced by this closure by providing help and guidance.

Students affected by the closure can email assistance@toniguy.edu for help.

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