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Free money for beauty schools in Tampa Bay

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Filed: Timeline

$2.3 million in federal stimulus money is going to pay for Tampa Bay area beauty school tuition

More than $2.3 million in federal economic stimulus grants have gone to eight Tampa Bay area cosmetology and massage schools to pay tuition for the hairdressers, masseuses and nail technicians of tomorrow.

That's swell news for those who see the beauty trades as a way to gain a firmer footing in the job market. But is there truly demand for more beauty school graduates at bay area salons?

Not really, said Monica Ponce, owner of Muse The Salon in Tampa.

"Instead of encouraging more people to go to beauty schools," Ponce said, "they should probably help the stylists who are unemployed."

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The grant awards include more than $1 million to Manhattan Beauty School in Tampa, $250,000 to Bene's International School of Beauty in New Port Richey and $280,000 to Sun State College of Hair Design in Clearwater.

Manhattan has nearly 600 students, Bene's about 250 and Sun State 230, according to interviews and federal data.

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Chad Malm, owner of Salon Jack in Tampa, said he gets as many as six applicants every week. There are plenty of hairdressers, he said, and using stimulus money to put students through beauty school is ridiculous.

"It's not for everybody to be jumping in and wasting tax dollars," he said. "What, are you kidding me?"

http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/article1044637.ece

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Filed: Timeline

I'd agree that this is a rather questionable use of tax payer funds. Education into a career where there's little - if any - demand is essentially the same as building bridges to nowhere. Educational grants should be prioritized to support education into careers that are and are projected to be in high demand. Otherwise, it's a waste of money.

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