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MN-based beauty school chain shuts down all 79 campuses at once

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The sudden shutdown of Regency Beauty Institute is drawing some ugly comments from students who feel jilted.

Regency, which is based in the Twin Cities, announced on its website Wednesday evening that it has closed all 79 of its campuses around the country.

Those include five Minnesota locations in St. Cloud, Duluth, Blaine, Burnsville, and Maplewood.

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Why the closings?

The school says it ran out of money to keep operating. Their statement says there are "multiple reasons" for that and Regency went on to name a few.

In addition to fewer students enrolling in cosmetology school and difficulty getting financing, Regency cited "a negative characterization of for-profit education by regulators and politicians that continues to worsen."

In Minnesota, Attorney General Lori Swanson sued two for-profit colleges – Globe University and Minnesota School of Business – arguing their recruiters made fraudulent claims to prospective students about the employment prospects of graduates. Earlier this month a judge agreed.

Regency Beauty Institute had no connection to that case. But they're not the first to notice that the reputation of for-profit colleges has been suffering in recent years. Part of their statement reads:

"This is not another case of a school being forced to shut down because it was accused of wrongdoing. We held ourselves to high educational and ethical standards. The environment is simply not one that allows us to remain open."

The decision to close all their campuses with no advance notice caught employees – not to mention students – off guard.

The manager of a Regency campus in Illinois wrote on Facebook that she was told about the closings after students left for the day, adding "we were blindsided just like you."

What happens now?

On its website Regency set a pair of two-hour time periods when students will be allowed back into Regency buildings to collect their belongings (Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

As for finishing their degrees, Regency tells students there are agreements called "teach outs" that allow students to complete their cosmetology program at another accredited school.

Regency says it is working to arrange teach out colleges for students at each of its campuses and will post that information to this web page beginning next week.

Apart from the five Regency campuses, the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences lists 17 accredited schools in Minnesota.

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