It is difficult to afford college or get a decent job

As a resident of Johnstown for most of my life, I’ve noticed a lot of negative impacts in the area and it’s not getting better.

My generation has it very hard and the opportunity is very limited in Fulton County. When I was a high school student, I always planned on furthering my education, but living here makes it just about impossible. My parents make over the minimum for me to qualify for any type of government financial aid. So my education would depend on paying directly for me to attend schooling. They also offer student aid loans which the interest rates would be impossible for me to pay after my schooling is finished. After all said and done I’m not guaranteed a job after graduation. So the loan I took out would be impossible to pay back and my credit would be shattered before I even own a home or a vehicle. Just living costs alone are very expensive. I’ve noticed it’s very common that people in my generation attend college, come back here and can’t even find a job after graduating.

What blows my mind is it’s all very common people with bachelor’s degrees are working at minimum wage jobs such as McDonald’s, Burger King etc. They didn’t benefit going to college at all. So the mountain of debt just climbs for us. It’s all deciding if we eat or pay for our debt.

Then the others who attend trade schools usually don’t return here. Another common action of my generation is the students who do qualify for financial aid receive cash grants in the state for school supplies which is amazing for low income families. But a very common thing they do is just receive the grant for the money then never even attend. So they basically, they got the money for nothing and spend it on foolish stuff. Which makes my blood boil for the people who actually want education but don’t qualify. As our young people who leave and don’t return we all lose. We are in desperate need of a education reform.

DEREK ACKERKNECHT

Johnstown