Stay the Course

Navigate Uncertainty, Secure Your Future

Life’s unpredictable challenges shouldn’t discourage you from pursuing education and opportunity. Stay the Course® is all about helping students juggle the many non-academic responsibilities that can get in the way of school. We understand how tough the journey can be, and we’re here to support you when life throws curveballs. With personalized case management and strategic financial assistance, Stay the Course® is dedicated to empowering low-income students and ensuring that setbacks don’t define their future.

Motivated by our Catholic faith and our belief in the potential of every person, we’ve got your back, both academically and beyond. Our goal? To make sure that a certificate or degree isn’t just a distant dream, but an achievable reality. With determination and the tailored support offered through this free program, you have what it takes to thrive and succeed!

Empowering Students

Stay the Course® is a lifeline for Columbus State Community College students facing economic hardships. This 100% free program is designed for students of all ages who are chasing an educational dream while also juggling work, family, and life. Utilizing a one-on-one personalized approach, Stay the Course® staff guide eligible students through their college journey, offering support and serving as non-academic advisors to help with the many challenges that happen outside the classroom.

This program also provides access to additional community resources and up to $500 in emergency financial assistance per semester, ensuring that educational dreams remain on track even in tough times.

Eligibility & Benefits

To qualify for Stay the Course®, you must be a Columbus State Community College student eligible to receive the federal Pell Grant. Program benefits extend beyond immediate crisis management, providing both mentorship and limited financial support tailored to enhance your academic persistence. We understand that the road to graduation is not just paved with tuition fees, but also with the cost of housing, transportation, and life’s unexpected emergencies. Stay the Course® envelops you in a safety net, reinforcing your academic ambitions and fostering a community where your educational and personal growth go hand in hand.

How to Apply

Start your journey with Stay the Course by applying online. Our personalized approach means that there’s no “one size fits all”; instead, we define a personalized path to your credential and identify barriers to overcome, working with a dedicated Navigator. Apply now and take the first step towards securing your academic and financial future.

For more detailed information, please reach out to Keena Watson, Stay the Course Program Support Coordinator, at (614) 287-5792 or email her at

"Stay the Course was my safety net during a semester fraught with financial setbacks. Thanks to their support, graduation is no longer a hope; it's happening."

"Balancing a full-time job and classes was overwhelming, but my Navigator’s support through Stay the Course kept me on track for my degree. One day, I will own my own business and give back to others in the same way STC and my Navigator put it on the line for me."

"The emergency funds from Stay the Course helped me deal with a medical crisis without dropping out. I'm now on the verge of earning my diploma, all thanks to this life-changing program."

“I’ve learned to be better at anticipating challenges and how to be more proactive and less reactive. The budgeting piece of the Stay the Course program helped changed the way I handled my finances. I’m more persistent and keep my goals in mind. I also learned how to reach out and ask for help when I need it. I have the skills to goal plan and how to measure and celebrate success.”

“STC has inspired my success by offering compassion and support when I felt overwhelmed or challenges arose and making sure that I had the resources I needed to obtain my education. My STC navigators were there with words of encouragement or to respond to a text with whatever they could help to make sure I reached my goal.”

“With my husband terminally ill, I just can’t think straight and have our finances in a mess. Payee Services is a blessing from God and I’m so grateful for the assistance during this difficult time.”