Feds say search part of ongoing probe By Peter Failor peter.failor@gaflnews VALDOSTA - Agents from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General on Tuesday seized a number of documents and records maintained by the Valdosta Academy of Beauty Culture.

The search was conducted at 8:30 a.m. at the academy, which is located at 206 E. Hill Ave. It is a private, for-profit cosmetology school with a Program Participation Agreement with the federal Education Department.

"We're still actively involved, it's not a culmination," said Supervisory Special Agent Steve McDermond, Thomasville regional FBI office.

The Thomasville office oversees FBI operations in Valdosta.

McDermond declined comment on whether the investigation centers on the participation agreement, by which the academy's students are eligible for Pell grants and other federal aid, including student loans.

McDermond said the information concerning the case, including search warrants, has been sealed. A release from the FBI in Atlanta confirmed that no arrests were made Tuesday.

According to information posted on the Universities.com Web site, an average of $3,000 in federal grants was awarded to each student in the 1998-99 school year, as well as $6,625 in student loans.

The academy had an enrollment of 53 in fall 1999, with 93 percent of students receiving financial aid, according to the site.

The academy also has branches in East Point and Tifton, but the FBI would not comment on whether searches were, or will be, conducted in those locations.

The owners could not be reached on Tuesday for comment.

To contact reporter Peter Failor, please call 244-3400, ext. 247.

NUTGRAPH: The Georgia Department of Labor sponsored a job fair for employees of the recently closed Brooks County Sausage Company.

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