NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Regency Beauty Institute abruptly closed all 79 of its locations across the country, including one in Newport News, on Wednesday night.
Students and educators gathered outside the school on Thursday morning to talk about where they go from here. One student, Kea Edwards, was scheduled to graduate at the end of the day.
The school's website cited problems with money, a declining number of students enrolling and the political climate surrounding for-profit education as reasons for the sudden closure.
The cosmetology school, which has operated for more than 50 years, posted the following statement online:
"How did this happen? In short, the organization does not have the cash to continue to run the business. There are multiple intertwined reasons: declining numbers of cosmetology students nationwide, a negative characterization of for-profit education by regulators and politicians that continues to worsen and, in light of these factors, an inability to obtain continued financing.
"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. We diligently explored a range of strategic options that would benefit our students, teachers, and staff — and allow us to remain open. Unfortunately, those efforts were not successful."
Current students will be allowed to retrieve their personal items Thursday between 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. and Friday between 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
The educators and students said they are upset with the way the school notified them. They told News 3 they were not given any warning and they feel that not only their education, but their family is being ripped apart.
Click here for information regarding the next step for current students.