Students and staff left out in the cold as cosmetology school closes doors

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LANCASTER, Pa. -- Students and staff say they've been left out in the cold after a Lancaster Cosmetology School closed it's door, they say, with no warning.  The American Beauty Academy has shut down all four locations, including at the Park City Mall in Lancaster.

"It's beyond frustrating. It's discouraging and disappointing," said former student Ila McKee. Mckee said she put in 600 hours studying at the American Beauty Academy in Lancaster. Now, the single mother said she is left with thousands in students loans with nothing to show for it. Even more discouraging for McKee, she said her graduation will likely be pushed back from March to June or July.

McKee, along with around 25 other students are now transferring to the Lancaster School of Cosmetology. That is one of several businesses around the area helping students transition.

"We take a look at their transcript, transfer their hours, then we determine what their skill level is, and how we may be able to help them financially. Sometimes it's a combination of financial aid that might be left, if the previous school didn't take it, and a combination of scholarships from here," said Deborah Dunn, President of Lancaster School of Cosmetology.

School officials could not be reached for comment. The last post on the American Beauty Facebook page had some explanation:

"The American Beauty Academy schools in DE, PA and MD are closing their doors permanently. Arrangements are being made for students to continue their education in each local market.

American Beauty Academy, according to its owner and CEO Ed Gillespie, has shuttered it's doors to loss of funding. Without any warning, American Beauty Academy lost access to funding last Wednesday, November 17th, and has moved as quickly as possible to find alternatives for students to be able to continue their schooling."

For McKee, it may be a setback, but she said she won't let it set her back. "I've never given up in life," said McKee.