Columbia Journalism School to offer educational loan repayment assistance for recent graduates with inaugural program

May 17, 2023

The program is the first of its kind for graduate journalism schools. With its inception, Columbia continues to stake its claim as a steadfast supporter of rigorous, representative, and ethical journalism — and of its highly skilled graduates who want to make a difference in the industry.

Columbia Journalism School (CJS) will launch a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) with the goal of providing support to recent graduates who take positions in nonprofit news media organizations — a market that is rapidly growing in the United States. The announcement was made today by Jelani Cobb, Dean and Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism, at the School’s graduation ceremony.

“We hope that by relieving students of some financial pressure, we can offer a bit of breathing room,” said Dean Cobb. “Our aim is to encourage students to explore new career paths that may not otherwise have been possible for them. Our graduates have skills in demand, and we want them to be shared with organizations making a difference."

CJS recognizes that work in the local and nonprofit sector, while deeply important, is often lower paid than positions in standard news media companies. LRAP is designed to help alleviate this financial burden, often associated with repaying educational loans, while drawing top talent to local communities and to a vibrant new nonprofit sector that is helping to address the under-reporting caused by shrunken editorial budgets and shuttered local newspapers.

Law schools have long been at the forefront of this effort, with many providing financial aid to their graduates working in a nonprofit newsroom or other lower-paying legal fields. With this inaugural pilot program, CJS intends to reinvent the business model for its industry by borrowing from the example set by law and medical schools.

Graduates working full-time in the public interest sector and who are within three years of their CJS graduation date are eligible to apply. Those qualified may receive up to $50,000 over five years of participation. To learn more about eligibility, visit the program FAQ page.

During the Columbia Journalism School Graduation Ceremony on May 17, 2023, Dean Jelani Cobb announced the launch of a Loan Repayment Assistance Program to support students pursuing a career in nonprofit news media organizations.

About Columbia Journalism School

For 111 years, the Columbia Journalism School has been preparing journalists in programs that stress academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry and professional practice. Founded with a gift from Joseph Pulitzer, the school opened in 1912 and offers Master of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science in Data Journalism, a joint Master of Science degree in Computer Science and Journalism, The Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism and a Doctor of Philosophy in Communications. It houses the Columbia Journalism Review, the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, The Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. The school also administers many of the leading journalism awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes, the John Chancellor Award, the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism, Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award, the Mike Berger Awards and the WERT Prize for Women Business Journalists.