CHICAGO (CBS) — With some students just weeks from graduation, a nationwide chain of beauty schools is closing, and that is affecting people in the Chicago area, leaving them in the lurch.

Regency Beauty Institute has announced on its website that after more than 50 years of training cosmetology students, it is shutting down its 79 campuses.

One of them is in Tinley Park.

Michelle Sanders, 21, got the word in the evening from a friend.

“She sent us a picture of the website of the school, saying that it’s closed permanently. I thought it was a joke,” she said.

Sanders said she hoped to graduate by the first of the year, and get the required 1,500 hours of training and experience.

“I just hit 1,000 hours so I have three months left of school,” she said.

Sanders said she hoped to provide for herself and her 2-year-old daughter, and now this news.

“I was worrying myself. I could barely sleep. My head was hurting because I was stressing out,” she said.

She said she paid for the entire course — a few thousand dollars — when she enrolled in January, using a both financial aid and student loans.

Sanders said she will contact other cosmetology schools and hope they’ll accept her credit hours.

Regency has 10 schools in Illinois – including in Aurora, Crystal Lake, Darien, Elgin, Joliet, and Tinley Park. It also has six schools in Indiana, including in Merrillville and South Bend.