Cosmetology school stiffened NJ students and set to lose license, state says

The state attorney general’s office is seeking to suspend the license to operate a cosmetology school with four locations in New Jersey after a flood of complaints from frustrated students.

The Capri Institute of Hair Design reportedly closed in December 2021 – displacing around 250 students with less than two days’ notice – and refused to provide transcripts or tuition reimbursements, the office of the Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin.

This made it “virtually impossible” to transfer students to another cosmetology school, the attorney general’s office said.

Capri Institute officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Students were reportedly told via the Capri Institute website that the four sites – at Paramus, Clifton, Kenilworth and Brick – would reopen within 30 days. However, it took 45 days before the school began to “randomly” open certain sites, the attorney general’s office said.

While classroom instruction has resumed at three locations, their clinics have remained closed, allegedly preventing students from earning the clinical hours needed to become licensed cosmetologists and hairstylists in New Jersey.

The fourth site, in Brick, has not reopened, the attorney general’s office said.

“Students who pursue career studies to improve their job prospects or obtain a professional license have every right to expect a return on their financial investments,” Platkin said.

“When for-profit schools fail to deliver on their promise to provide students with the education and training needed to build successful careers in their chosen professions, we will hold them accountable,” he said.

Platkin said his office filed a lawsuit in Union County Superior Court against the Capri Institute, in addition to asking the State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling to immediately suspend its license to operate in New Jersey.

The Capri Institute is scheduled to appear before the state board at its meeting on Tuesday, said Lisa Coryell, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.

The council is part of the state’s Consumer Affairs Division, which launched the investigation “following a flood of student complaints,” the statement from the attorney general’s office said.

Cari Fais, acting director of consumer affairs, said the students had paid thousands of dollars in tuition or incurred student debt, in an effort “to obtain a professional cosmetology and hairdressing license for improve their quality of life”.

“Due to the school’s alleged illegal conduct, that dream has been put on hold — possibly permanently,” Fais said.

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Rob Jennings can be reached at [email protected].

Milton S. Rodgers