Questions raised over future of South County beauty college

SOUTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) - Questions are being raised about the future of a beauty college in south St. Louis County.  And that has students fearing they are losing tuition money.

On its website National Academy promises to offer an exceptional education in all aspects of cosmetology but some of their students contacted us to say they believe they are losing their money.

This is what some of the students are telling Fox 2.

Sherron Johnson messaged us through Facebook stating that, "National Academy of Beauty Arts claims to be moving to a new location but won’t provide an address.  They've been lying to us the whole time about closing and all of a sudden they’re moving. I don't believe them and we still have to pay back all that money, we also can't transfer all of our hours to other colleges."

Another student, Antonesha Johnson, messaged us saying, "the academy is closing  in October and currently telling the students enrolled that they are relocating.  Many students have already paid tuition and aren't getting their money back."

We stopped by the school Monday today to get some answers.

We were only able to talk to an instructor who told us the owner of the academy told her over the phone the school had no comment.

So we can't verify whether the school is closing.

But there was a sign outside the door that said for lease downstairs which is where the academy is located in the Concord Plaza in South County.

When we stopped by the school there were students working on customers so at this time the academy is still open.

Statement from National  Academy of Beauty Arts:

Last week National Academy announced to our students our tentative intention to relocate to the Arnold, MO area in the near future. Although work on this relocation has been in the works for the last 3 months, National Academy is still in the beginning stages of this relocation, as we still need regulatory approvals, finalization of the lease, etc. As the process proceeds, we will be able to provide the students with more concrete information, such as the actual location once the lease paperwork is finalized and a more precise time frame once the regulators review the paperwork. National Academy intends to fully comply with all applicable laws and regulations as well as our accreditation standards and rules (including financial requirements). School operations will continue as normal until the move occurs.

National Academy felt it was important to notify our current students as well as our potential students of our intentions once there was a possibility of relocation so the students can make informed decisions about their education. Students were notified of the area of the move, as well as our initial plans for accommodations they will receive. All current students will be able to transfer to the new location without loss of hours and at no additional financial costs as per our accreditation rules as well as the U.S. Department of Education rules. All current students will also be receiving compensation in the form of gas cards or bus fare to accommodate the additional travel costs the students may incur to the new facility. Students who wish not to relocate will be given refunds in accordance with their contracts and their loans and grants will be pro-rated in accordance with U.S. Department of Education guidelines. This process (including the refund calculations) is monitored by our accrediting body to ensure proper compliance. All hours, as they are currently, are transferable as per Missouri State Law. It is up to the receiving institution as to the acceptance of such hours.

Two last notes, First, the For Lease sign you mentioned in the window has been there for about 10-15 years, as there is an additional 10,000 Square feet or so that we don't lease in the basement. Second, we have been in the Concord Plaza shopping center for almost 30 years, Due to the increase in crime in the center, which coincided with a blood plasma center moving in next door, (24 instances since 7/1/15, including assault, narcotic cases, motor vehicle theft, etc.) we had no choice but to relocate for the safety of our students, staff and clients.