Skip to main content

College is possible. We promise.

The Columbus Promise Logo The Columbus Promise

Free tuition plus $500/semester scholarship, and dedicated support so you can succeed

What has Columbus promised the 2022, 2023, and 2024 graduates of Columbus City Schools? If you promise to work hard, graduate from high school, and complete the FAFSA, we promise you can complete six semesters of college at Columbus State for free. And because we know there’s more to affording college than tuition, we’ll give you $500 per semester to help you pay for books, technology, or other life expenses. 

The Columbus Promise is a joint initiative of the City of Columbus, Columbus City Schools, I Know I Can, and Columbus State Community College to boost college-going, student success, and social mobility for area students. We believe that without the worry of paying for tuition, and with your own dedicated advisor to help you access academic advising, career counseling, social and wellness opportunities, and essential support services, you can thrive in college and succeed in a well-paying, in-demand career of your choice.

The Columbus Promise program has doubled Columbus City Schools enrollment at Columbus State for our 2022-2023 academic year. Learn more.

Accept Your Columbus Promise

  1. Apply to Columbus State
  2. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (Columbus State's FAFSA School Code is 006867)
  3. Complete The Columbus Promise application 

Take your next steps toward Columbus State

  1. Access your Columbus State email. We'll send instructions to the email address we have on file.
  2. Connect with your Columbus Promise Advisor. They’ll reach out to you directly.
  3. Register for Orientation so you can learn all things Columbus State, register for classes, and hit the ground running this fall!

The Smart Choice

At Columbus State, we believe there’s a smarter way to move from high school to college to career for people who want more – and more affordable – options than the traditional four-year path. If your goal is to get the education and training you need for a good-paying job in an in-demand field as soon as possible, we offer two-year associate degrees that will prepare you to get hired in one of Columbus’ top industries. If your goal is a bachelor’s degree, we offer two-year associate degrees designed to help you transfer to a four-year university for half the usual cost. Our Preferred Pathway partners guarantee admission to Columbus State grads. 

Like all Columbus State students, you will have over 150 areas of study to choose from. You’ll also benefit from Columbus State’s small class sizes, instructors who put teaching first, and ample in-person and online tutoring options. 

A Promise You Can Count On

At Columbus State, we know that life and learning are connected, so we’re creating a Columbus Promise experience that incorporates both. We also know that sometimes life and learning get complicated, so we use our superpowers – community and connection – to help students keep going. As a Columbus Promise Scholar at Columbus State, here’s what you can count on from us:

Icon of spinning gears.
Icon of spinning gears.

A college degree that’s valued and affordable.

Your Columbus State degree is valued by employers and four-year universities. Employers recruit our grads because they’re prepared with the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to hit the ground running. And our university partners guarantee our grads admission to their schools because they know our students graduate ready for success in any classroom. With free tuition and a $500/semester scholarship, you’ll be part of a community of students coming from Columbus City Schools, each making the same smart choice to get 2+ years of college for FREE.

Icon of paper with checklist.
Icon of paper with checklist.

A jumpstart on success.

Get ahead and stay ahead. As a Promise Scholar at Columbus State, you’ll get an early start to exploring academic and career opportunities through summer programming.  At the Columbus Promise Summer Bridge Program, you will develop study skills and success strategies to prepare for your first semester of college. At Orientation, you’ll learn how to get involved in campus clubs and organizations and access Columbus State supports, like tutoring, food assistance, and accessibility services. After Orientation, your Columbus Promise Advisor will personally guide you through course selection and registration for your first semester. And through it all, you’ll start building that network of college friends that you’ll have with you for the rest of your life!

Icon of paper with checklist.
Icon of paper with checklist.

An advocate to help you find your way.

As a Promise Scholar at Columbus State, you’ll have your own dedicated Columbus Promise Advisor who will help you transition from high school to college, find career and educational goals that match your interests, make a plan, and stay on track to achieve those goals.

Icon of paper with checklist.
Icon of paper with checklist.

A home away from home.

We’ve created a homebase just for Columbus Promise Scholars—our newly renovated Columbus Promise Scholar Space—where you can relax between classes, study, connect with other Promise scholars, talk with your advisor, participate in social, wellness, financial literacy, and career exploration activities, or just be.

Icon of paper with checklist.
Icon of paper with checklist.

An instant community.

From the start, you’ll have lots of opportunities to connect with other Promise Scholars who share your experience. And since college is also about meeting new people, exploring different interests, and building a community of your own, you’ll also have access to everything else Columbus State has to offer—from the Black Student Union, CSCC Pride, and Latin American Student Association to concert band, chorus, theatre, Honors Program, and STEM Club. If you’re looking to get a head start on your career, you’ll want to consider our paid apprenticeship programs that get your foot in the door and put money in your pocket.

Explore Campus Life

Icon of paper with checklist.
Icon of paper with checklist.

A career plan and coach.

After you get oriented to college life, your Columbus Promise Advisor will help you design a personal academic and career plan to help you meet your goals. You’ll have the opportunity to explore different career paths and get the academic and study skills support to stay on track. As you make progress towards your degree, you’ll work with your Career Coach on your resume, internships and mentorships, job search, and interview preparation to help you get hired.