Regency closure: Students, teachers feel betrayed

WESTMINSTER, Colo . -- Students across the country were left high and dry after Regency Beauty Institute permanently closed all 79 of its locations late Wednesday. Two of the sites were in Colorado. Dozens of students in Fort Collins and Westminster are now trying to figure what's next.

A Westminster Regency teacher told FOX31 computers unexpectedly went offline Wednesday afternoon. Two hours later, staff members were taking part in a mandatory conference call where corporate bosses broke the news.

"It feels like a stab to the heart," said student Cynthia Perez.

Students returned to campuses across the country Thursday to pick up belongings. Many of the students are still processing the fact that their tuition payments and hard work won't end in a graduation at Regency.

"It hurts a lot," said student Maurine Beasley. "The educators, everybody, is out at this place. It's not [the teachers' fault] ... it's more like the company. They robbed me. I feel robbed and shorted."

Beasley said she charged to her credit card $5,000 in May for her first tuition payment. Now she and many others aren't sure if their hours will transfer to other schools.

"I can't afford to go anywhere else right now," said Beasley.

The for-profit chain closed all of its sites Wednesday after more than 50 years in business. Students were given explanation letters Thursday informing them the company did not have money to "complete or run" the business.

"I think what's hurting us more is the fact that nobody told us," said Perez. "Not even our educators knew or our campus manager."

Perez, a single mom, said she was working hard to put herself through school to make a better life for her young son. Now she doesn't know what's next.

"I'm pretty much up in the air trying to figure out what's going on," said Perez. "It's not right. To pay tuition of $20,000 and then to transfer to another school to do a year-and-a-half."

Students and teachers said they feel betrayed more than anything.

"They just stop like it's nothing," said Beasley. "Like I don't mean anything. They just want money. I feel like they were money hungry."

Regency administrators were still enrolling new students this week, according to students.