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Akron may offer money towards tuition for students at Beyond Expectations Barber College

Posted at 5:26 PM, Dec 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-05 18:05:26-05

Paying for college can be daunting and overwhelming and the struggle is the same for some budding barbers.

But the city of Akron may help cut costs by providing up to $32,000 to Beyond Expectations Barber College on Romig Road.

Councilwoman Tara Samples made the proposal which would provide scholarships to future students and reduce tuition for current students.

Tuition for the 10-month program is $10,500.

Eric Garrett opened the college five years ago. Sixty-six students have graduated and have opened up a dozen barbershops.

He requested funding three years ago but was rejected.

This time, he's hoping the city will provide financial assistance for some of the students who struggle to make ends meet.

The council could vote on the proposal December 10.

"I want to partner with the city to make our city better," Garrett said. "Any amount is helpful for these guys. Whatever the city can do to help these guys or girls is greatly appreciated."

Amani Gay, 25, attends the barber college during the day and works an overnight shift at a plastics plant to pay for tuition. He discovered a passion for cutting hair and hopes to open his own barber shop one day.

"I'm dedicated," Gay said, "I lose sleep for this. I lose time with my kids for this."

Gay said he appreciates council considering the scholarship money.

"I need help. I know a lot of my other classmates need help too."

Ariane Johnson, 20, is also working to pay her way through the college and has big dreams.

"Eventually have my own business with cutting hair like my own shops and my own school for barbering," Johnson said.

The proposal comes on the heels of a recent "Elevate Akron" study which revealed more needs to be done to include African Americans in economic opportunity in the city. Akron ranks among the 10 worst metro areas in the country for black unemployment.

"This is chance for them to put their money where their mouth is," Garrett said.

Garrett, an African American Army veteran, said his desire to find ways to help his students stems from his second chance. In 1992, he survived an 80-foot fall after his parachute collapsed during a jump in Afghanistan.

"Every day is a blessing," he said. "Every day is a blessing that I'm above ground."