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07/29/2013 08:57 am ET

Beauty School Students Left With Broken Promises And Large Debts | New York Times

AP

The debt collectors call so often that Amarilis Madera knows them by name. For years, they have threatened to take her possessions and drain her bank account. In February, her $5,000 tax refund was seized.

"I needed that money to live," Ms. Madera, 49, a mother of three, said recently through a translator. "I almost lost my apartment."

Her financial burden was caused not by reckless spending, but by a decision she made more than 17 years ago and deeply regrets: enrolling at the Jon Louis School of Beauty in the Bronx.

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