Cosmetology in Limbo - - Jackson, MS

Cosmetology in Limbo

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Frustrated cosmetology school owners across the state voiced concerns during a Monday morning meeting with the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology. Recent graduates have not been able to get licensed because there is no agency to conduct the final tests. 

The state legislature passed a bill banning the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology from conducting the tests. Around the same time, Governor Haley Barbour appointed all new members.  The new board's responsibility was to choose a testing company, but many cosmetology school administrators believe they board is moving too slow.

About 400 graduates are waiting to take the cosmetology licensing test. Nearly 300 more will join that backlog in the coming months. In the meantime, graduates may use permits to work, but most salon owners will not hire someone without a license.

"We have no jobs. We have no money to pay off our student loans. We have no money to pay off bills or anything to get us started. We're going to be in trouble," said Ashley Haven.

Schools have to meet certain requirements and fear what will happen if their students don't receive licenses soon.

"If we do not meet our licensure rate for federal with gainful employment numbers, we stand to lose our accreditation. Then we lose our federal funding and the result of that is school closures," said Karoline Finch, President of the Mississippi Institute of Aesthetics, Nails & Cosmetology.

Board members were in contract talks with testing company Pearson Vue, but cannot say specifically when the contract will be signed.

"As soon as we receive that contract, I will be calling a special meeting to get that contract signed so Pearson Vue can start testing students," said President of the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology.

We are told by the time the contract is signed, students may have to wait another 70 days to take the licensing test.  Governor Barbour was asked about this Monday. He said he was not aware of the issue, but planned to look into it. 

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