$10M Donation Will Help CUNY Journalism School Go Tuition-Free

The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York wants to go tuition-free for all students by its 20th anniversary in 2026.
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Published on January 30, 2024
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  • The journalism school was named after Craig Newmark after his philanthropic organization donated $20 million to the school in 2018.
  • The journalism school began its journey to free tuition by eliminating tuition costs for 25% of the class of 2024 and offering partial scholarships to 65% of the students.
  • A 2022 Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce study projected the journalism workforce will dwindle by 3% by 2031.

Thanks to a big donation by the founder of Craigslist, half of the class starting in 2025 at the City University of New York (CUNY) journalism graduate school will study for free.

But the school has its sights set on bigger plans. The goal is to become the first graduate journalism program to offer free tuition to all students.

CUNY's Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism announced Jan. 25 that half of the August 2025 starting class will study journalism for free thanks to a $10 million gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies (CNP). The journalism school's namesake started the philanthropic organization and founded the website Craigslist.

"If we believe journalism is public service, a service that is essential to our democracy, then we need to eliminate the barriers that stand between the people who want to go into journalism and a successful career in news media," Graciela Mochkofsky, dean of the journalism school, said in the press release.

"The first barrier is a lack of access to an excellent journalism education, and the Newmark J-School is determined to lead the way in eliminating it. Our beleaguered industry and profession demand it."

The school wants to raise the endowment from $30 million to $60 million by its 20th anniversary in 2026 to become the first journalism school to offer free tuition to all students. The journalism school has slowly increased financial aid for students since giving free tuition to 25% of the class of 2024 and partial scholarships to 65% of the students in the class.

This is the second major gift from CNP. In 2018, CNP donated $20 million to the school. The next year CUNY renamed the journalism school after Craig Newmark.

"Trustworthy journalism plays a crucial role in protecting our country from bad actors at home and abroad," Newmark said in the release.

"For nearly 200 years, CUNY has been the pathway to the middle class for students who grew up like me. A tuition-free CUNY Journalism School opens the door to journalism jobs for students of all backgrounds, while helping to ensure that our local and national media outlets reflect the communities journalists serve."

The announcement comes at a shaky time for students considering a journalism career.

A 2022 report by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce projected employment in journalism will decrease by 3% (over 20,000 jobs) by 2031. While traditional newsroom journalism employment has fallen by 26% since 2008, employment in broadcasting and online media outlets has increased.