Michigan State Government Leans on Trade School Student, Feds Bailout Student Borrower
President Joe Biden announced Aug. 24 that taxpayers would foot the bill for $10,000 in college loans per borrower, or $20,000 for those who received Pell Grants.
Meanwhile, the president offered nothing to Americans working in the non-elite economy. Trade schools, such as hairdressing and cosmetology schools, have high default rates. Their graduates can expect lower pay and heavier training hour requirements before they can even start working in their chosen fields.
State law requires barbers to complete 1,800 hours of training before obtaining a license, according to the Institute for Justice. By comparison, the Federal Aviation Administration only requires airline pilots to log 1,500 hours.
Cosmetologists must have 1,500 hours of training. Cosmetology students are generally considered low income. The average cost of a cosmetology program is $16,000, according to a June 2021 report from the Institute for Justice. Lawyers must complete 1,200 hours of class.
This means that if you have a hair appointment and a court hearing on the same day, the junior beautician will have more training than the junior lawyer.
The average student debt for such a program is $7,100, for a career that pays an average of $26,000 per year. Cosmetologists earn less than most janitors and restaurant workers, whose jobs don’t require a school or state license.
Graduation requirements for barbers and cosmetologists almost always mirror state licensing requirements. In other words, tuition is directly affected by state licensing requirements. Michigan is ranked 30th in America for exorbitant licensing requirements, according to the Institute for Justice. New York is the least restrictive state.
Grand Rapids salon owner and stylist Kara Cole tells Michigan Capitol Confidential:
I firmly believe that cosmetology and barbering should not be regulated. I also have a problem with everyone spending money on school, I’m not allowed to receive monetary compensation for offering an apprenticeship, which would be much more educational than a school or a standard experience. I believe a 500 hour safety standards course should be required to maintain a cosmetology license as an individual. However, any training acquired in skills such as cutting or coloring should be optional. I believe cosmetology and barber school should be like any other college experience – it sets you apart from your colleagues or people in your industry, but it’s not necessary to find a job.
Public health and safety is the common reason given for licensing requirements.
Tattoo artists, who are exposed to blood and potentially bloodborne pathogens when using a needle, are not required to obtain a license. They also don’t have minimum training hours. Tattoo parlor owners have few requirements to set up shop.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer released a statement supporting Biden’s decision to write off student debt. She did not respond to a request for comment regarding trade school debt.