January 4, 2022
Whether you’re a barber or beauty school student, educator, or a part of the barber/beauty school industry you’ve probably heard about the major changes happening to the Pell grant program and VA benefits. These changes are harsh and could have lasting effects on how barbering and beauty schools operate their financial aid*.
The most recent version of President Biden’s Build Back Better Plan is punishing low-income students who are choosing to attend proprietary career schools. We strongly believe that this policy is counterproductive for Americans and is hurtful to the students at our institution and others, who are making sacrifices and working extremely hard to better themselves and their futures.
What is the Build Back Better Plan?
The Build Back Better Plan was a soft infrastructure legislation plan that was proposed by President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration. It includes funding for COVID-19 relief, social services, welfare, and more.
From this plan, came the Build Back Better Act. As currently written, this policy is counterproductive and problematic for our nation. Instead of giving opportunities to low-income students, this act is taking away these opportunities. Rather than supporting the financial needs of students, this legislation is punishing students for attending their school of choice.
How Will This Affect Beauty Schools?
For Premier Barber Institute, this legislation will affect us in a number of ways. Currently, we operate under the 90/10 rule. This means that no more than 90% of our revenue can come from federal funds, under federal financial aid guidelines. At Premier Barber Institute, the majority of our students come from low-income situations. Over 90% of our students get federal financial aid and from them, about 80% of those students get full Pell Grants.
Under the old guidelines, veterans who came to us counted against the 10% of the 90/10 rule. This was a huge help to us because as a barbering school, our clinic revenue is smaller than other schools. Under the new legislation, the veteran’s federal funds will be shifting towards 90%. This really hurts our school and means there isn’t much to make up the rest of the 10%.
This has put us in a very difficult position. Ultimately, our veteran’s program is in trouble and we’re unsure where this is going to leave us. We are looking into other resources for help, but this saddens us because we love our veterans.
The latest draft of the Build Back Better plan calls for adding an additional $550 to the maximum Pell grant. The maximum Pell award would jump from $6,495 to $7,045, with the possibility of it going higher if Congress continues to fund annual increases, as officials are pushing to do.
You would think this would be a huge help to any low-income students. However, in Congress, privately held schools are looked down upon. So the extra $550 is available to students, except those who choose to go to a private institution, such as Premier Barber Institute.
Essentially, this act would prevent students who attend a for-profit career college from receiving the same $550 Pell Grant increase made available to all other students. The Pell Grant Program has been a key component to Premier Barber Institute and other beauty schools to help increase access to educational opportunities for low-income students. This hurts our students and others because they work just as hard and have the same goals to better their futures.
What Are We Doing?
We feel as if this really hurts our students and puts them at a disadvantage. Not only will our students be affected, but roughly 1 million students would be affected by this exclusion. Congress should absolutely rectify this issue and remove this unfair exclusion from their bill. Our students work hard and deserve the same opportunity to succeed as they are working to better their lives. Congress needs to support all students.
Fortunately, there were 16 congressmen and congresswomen who signed a letter stating that this act is unfair, one of them being Representative Madeleine Dean, who is our representative for the state of Pennsylvania. She came to our school for a tour and we believe that we were a big influence on her standing up to her congressional leadership.
On top of voicing our opinions, we also believe that it is important that our students and graduates stay educated on this topic. We had a Graduates Day, where we brought back some graduates and informed them of what was going on. We had about 30-40 of our graduates come and they were excited to see the school, but frustrated with this new legislation. Especially our veterans. We love our veterans because they bring a fun culture and are leaders and do great in our program.
What Can You Do?
Overall, having to drop students or veterans would absolutely break our hearts. We are here to give veterans, low-income students, or just about anyone the opportunity to better themselves and pursue a future they can be proud of. So what can you do? The best thing you can do is use your voice. Call your local congressman or congresswoman and let them know how this act will impact low-income students. Never underestimate the power of your voice and if you have any questions or concerns regarding our programs or financial aid, don’t hesitate to contact us at (844) 467-7364.
*Financial Aid available to those who qualify