Tangled Up in Debt
Sarah Butrymowicz and Meredith Kolodner, The Hechinger Report
Tracy Lozano, a single mother with a baby to raise, put on her game face when she pulled into the parking lot of the Iowa School of Beauty, just outside Des Moines. For Lozano, a cosmetology license was a realistic way to ensure a better life, and she was willing to make sacrifices. While also working nights at a Pizza Hut, she borrowed $21,000 to cover tuition and salon supplies and put in eight-hour days at the school for the better part of a year.
What Lozano didn't know was that the state-regulated school system she had put her faith in relies on a business model in which the drive for revenue often trumps students' educational needs. For-profit schools dominate the cosmetology training world and reap money from taxpayers, students, and salon customers.