COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The City of Columbus and Columbus City Schools have announced a partnership with Columbus State Community College to offer tuition-free education for graduating students.  

During a news conference, Wednesday, Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin announced phase one of the Columbus Promise program.

“If we want Columbus to be the best place in America to learn, earn, and find your career, then we as a community need to make bold investments in education,” said Hardin. “Our city has too many folks working hard, not earning enough while simultaneously good-paying jobs sit unfilled. The Columbus Promise is a strategy to get our young people the skills and credentials they need to be prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow.” 

During phase one of the program, which is based on a national model used in other cities and states, students who graduate from CCS (classes of 2022, 2023, and 2024) can complete the free application for federal student aid and an application to Columbus State to attend the community college full-time or part-time for up to six semesters to complete a two-year degree or shorter certificate program. 

Once in college, students maintain funding as long as they maintain federal aid standards for satisfactory academic progress. In addition to covered tuition and fees, Columbus Promise Scholars will receive up to $1,000 annually for transportation, books, and other life expenses.

“The Columbus Promise represents an incredible opportunity for current Columbus City Schools seniors and our future graduates. This promise has the opportunity to change entire trajectories for our children,” said CCS Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon. “This investment from city leaders and community partners allows a college education to become a reality. The knowledge and experiences students will gain at Columbus State is going to equip them with skills needed for their continued academic success and prepare them to enter the workforce.”

The City of Columbus is investing the initial $4 million to seed the Columbus Promise Fund, which will be managed by the Columbus Foundation. Council will legislate the initial public investment later this year.

The estimated costs for phase one, including three years of Columbus State tuition and wraparound service support, amounts to approximately $9.5 million, according to a release from the city, with the remaining $4.5 million to be raised from the private sector and philanthropy.

To learn more about the Columbus Promise, you can visit