Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Columbus Promise? Who is eligible? 

The Columbus Promise is a program for Columbus City Schools graduates that covers tuition and fees at Columbus State Community College and offers special services and support.  


To become a Columbus Promise Scholar, students must: 


There will be workshops in your high school building held over the next few months to help you complete these items.  If you need help, please get in touch with the I Know I Can College Advising Manager or a School Counselor in your high school building. You can apply during one of two application cycles: either by April 15, 2022 or by August 15, 2022.  


If you do the above, you will be accepted into the program, and will have to complete the Columbus Promise Pledge, which is an agreement that you plan to become a Columbus Promise Scholar and plan to enroll in college in the Autumn semester of the 2022-2023 academic year.  


To stay a Columbus Promise Scholar once in college, students must

  • Maintain the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) each semester. Students not meeting the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress will be placed on warning and have an opportunity to raise their grade point average and/or course completion rate.
  • Take at least nine credit hours per term, unless granted an exception by your Columbus Promise Advisor
  • Complete all mandatory student success programming, including meeting regularly with your Columbus Promise Advisor


What does it cover? 

Being a Columbus Promise Scholar means: 

  • The Columbus Promise Scholarship award will cover tuition and fees after the Pell grant (if eligible) and any tuition-restricted scholarship(s), as well as provide an additional $500 per semester for educational expenses, for up to six semesters of consecutive enrollment (summer enrollment optional).
  • While all Promise students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year, Pell Grant eligibility is not required to receive the award.
  • Additional scholarship dollars to help with educational costs ($500 each semester for full-time students, $300 for part-time students)
  • Access to a Columbus Promise Advisor who will help you plan your educational and career journey and stay on track 
  • Special opportunities for enrichment 


How do I apply? When is the deadline? When do I find out if I got it?

You can apply during one of two application cycles. The requirements for each are the same: complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, an application for admission to Columbus State Community College, and a Columbus Promise application. 


The earlier you apply, the earlier you’ll receive confirmation about eligibility for The Columbus Promise Scholarship award and next steps for enrollment. That gives you more time to make your college decision. 

  • Priority 1 deadline: April 15, 2022 (find out by May 2022)
  • Final deadline: August 15, 2022 (find out in August 2022)

The earlier you apply, the earlier you’ll find out you’re eligible for Columbus Promise and be able to take the next steps toward receiving your Columbus Promise award and enrolling for autumn.

There are lots of benefits to applying early! Completing your application by April 15! The sooner you complete your application, the sooner you can:
• Participate in your high school’s College Signing Day activities
• Make a plan for the summer.
• Meet other Columbus Promise Scholars and sign up for free programs that will help you get a strong start to college.
• Register for classes at Columbus State and get the best selection of classes.
• Complete any remaining steps to receive your scholarship award.
• Brag to your friends and family that you’re going to college after high school.

Does the program cover the cost of books?

In addition to covering the cost of tuition and fees, the program will grant students a scholarship ($500 each semester for full-time students, $300 for part-time students) that they can use for books or other expenses. 


Can I work while attending college as a Columbus Promise student?

Promise students can work while attending college as long as they enroll in the minimum nine (9) credit hours each semester and maintain continuous enrollment in autumn and spring semesters (summer enrollment is optional). Columbus Promise Advisors are there to help students make a plan for success around their work and college responsibilities.


What will the experience be like for Columbus Promise Scholars?

Columbus Promise Scholars are just like any other college student, balancing school, life, and work or other activities. As a Columbus Promise Scholar, you will have a special Columbus Promise Advisor who will guide you to success. You will meet with them several times a year. 


Program Eligibility 

I’m not a U.S. Citizen or I am undocumented or in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Can I be a Promise Scholar?

Yes, when you apply, you can share your status at that time. We’d love to have you in the program!


What if I’m a high school senior graduating early or late – can I still take part? 

If you are a member of the class of 2022 and graduate in the spring or summer, then you are eligible. Just take note of the application deadlines: you must apply by either April 15 or August 15, and you must enroll in classes at college in autumn 2022. 


Are there income requirements? Is Promise need-based or merit-based? 

The Columbus Promise program is currently open to every single student in Columbus City Schools who graduates from Columbus City Schools in 2022, 2023, or 2024. There are no specific student or family income requirements.


I have an IEP (Individualized Education Program) or 504 plan.  Will I be able to get the same accommodations/ support as a  Promise Scholar?

Yes, Columbus State Community College offers support services. Once you are accepted into the Columbus Promise, your Promise Advisor can help you learn more about these. 


I just moved to Columbus or just transferred to Columbus City Schools. Am I eligible?

If you’re enrolled in Columbus City Schools and can meet the other eligibility requirements above, then you are eligible. 


I will have some college credit already, through AP classes, College Credit Plus, or another 

program. So does this still apply to me?

Yes, you’re still welcome to be part of the program. If you come in with a lot of college credits already, you might be able to graduate early – you can talk to your Promise Advisor about it when you make your college plan!


What if I have to leave college after I start? 

The Promise program requires students to remain continuously enrolled in autumn and spring semesters (summer enrollment is optional). If you have a compelling need to take a semester off, talk to your Columbus Promise Advisor about appealing the continuous enrollment requirement based on special circumstances.


Can I take some time off after high school and enroll later with the Columbus Promise?

Students are required to enroll in the immediate fall following their high school graduation. If you have a compelling need to delay your start, an exception may be possible. Once you complete the Columbus Promise application and receive confirmation that you are eligible for The Columbus Promise Scholarship award, you can reach out to columbuspromise@iknowican.org about appealing the requirement to enroll in the fall.


I live in Columbus, but I do not go to a high school in the Columbus City Schools district. How do I take advantage?

This program is currently limited to students in Columbus City Schools high schools. 


I’m interested in some other programs at Columbus State like Weiler Scholars, Honors, or 

Health Careers Opportunity Program. Can I do those and also be a Promise Scholar? 

Yep! However, you do still need to complete separate applications for those programs, and meet all their requirements too. 


I’m not in the class of 2022, but I am thinking about college. Will the Columbus Promise be there when I graduate?

The Columbus Promise has been launched as a three-year pilot, available to Columbus City Schools students in the classes of 2022, 2023, and 2024. Our hope is to expand the program to make it possible to extend Promise to more students; watch this website for more information.


I know I want to go to college, but I’m not sure what I want to study. What can I study at Columbus State Community College? Are there specific majors I have to pick?

Getting a college education can help you get a good job. You have a lot of options, from short certificate programs that can help you get a job after one or two semesters of study to longer programs. We encourage you to explore the Columbus State Community College website and learn more about their programs. Currently, programs are divided into pathways that you can explore here: 

You can also get an associate degree and use it to transfer to a four-year university to get a bachelor’s degree. 


What if I want to get a four-year degree?

Currently, the Columbus Promise only includes Columbus State Community College, which does not award bachelor’s degrees. However, Columbus State can help you complete your associate degree and then transfer. In fact, Columbus State has nine universities that agree to accept all students who meet certain basic criteria; you can learn more here


In the future, we would like to add the option to the Columbus Promise to enroll directly in a four-year university. 

The Columbus Promise for Columbus City Schools Graduates Class of 2022

The Columbus Promise Team