Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled a handful of answers to common questions here. If you don’t see your answer listed, feel free to use the live chat below or email us at


What is the Lede Program’s application deadline?

The 2017 Lede Program primary deadline has passed, but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until as long as space allows. Apply now at the Columbia Journalism School application portal.

What’s the difference between the Lede 12 and Lede 24 programs?

Lede 12 is summer only, while Lede 24 continues onto the fall with an additional semester of coursework. You can find detailed course information on the Columbia Lede site.

I’m not sure if I should apply for Lede 24 or Lede 12. When do I have to decide?

If you’re considering Lede 24, we suggest that you apply for it now, and let us know your plans as you progress through the first half of Lede. It will be easier to leave the program early, than to try to extend loans, visas, etc., once you’re already enrolled.

Can I work while I participate in the Lede Program? What is the schedule like?

You should consider the Lede Program a full-time program – courses are from 10am-1pm Monday through Thursday, with (highly recommended) lab hours following at 2pm-5pm. In the second half of the summer there is an additional course on Friday mornings.

What are the dates for the Lede Program?

Friday, May 19: Orientation

Monday, May 22: Summer classes begin (Lede 12)

Friday, September 1: Last day of summer classes

Tuesday, September 5: Fall classes begin (Lede 24)

Monday, December 11: Last day of fall classes

Friday, December 15-Friday, December 22: Final exams

What does the day-to-day schedule look like?

For Lede 12, classes will be held from 10am-1pm Monday through Thursday. Lab hours will be held from 2-5pm (lab hours are optional, but it is highly recommended that you attend).

Lede 24 scheduling will depend on your course selection.


When will applications open for the Lede Program?

Applications are now open – visit the Columbia Journalism School application portal to apply.

What is required for the application?

Beyond the application itself, applying to the Lede program requires the following documents:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Inspirational Summary
  • Transcript(s)
  • Current resume/CV
  • Contact information for two recommenders, who will submit letters on your behalf
  • TOEFL score, if applicable

The Lede does not require a GRE score.

When is the application deadline?

The deadline for admissions and scholarship aid applications is March 1.

When will final admissions and scholarship aid decisions be announced?

We will email you with an admissions decision in late March. If you applied for financial aid, that same message will include news of any potential scholarship offer we’re able to make.

Will you have a wait-list?

Yes. Any waitlisted candidates will receive a final decision by mid-April at the latest.


How much does the program cost?

You can find detailed information regarding pricing on the Tuition & Fees page.

Is there financial aid available for applicants?

We do have a limited amount of scholarship aid available. The financial aid application opens on January 15, and is available on the same page as the Lede application.

Is the Lede Program FAFSA-eligible?

As a professional certification (rather than a degree) program, Lede is unfortunately not eligible for federal student funding. Past students have had no problem taking out private loans, though – in case it’s useful, we can point you to this detailed list of suggested lenders and other information.

If you’re staying for the Fall semester, Columbia also offers this payment plan (fall only, not summer).

International Students

Do I need to take the TOEFL?

The TOEFL is not required of anyone who holds a US bachelors or masters degree, or who is currently enrolled in another US university. The minimum score required is 100.  It can take up to 10 days to get the results, so please keep that in mind when you are scheduling your appointment time to take the exam.

Is this program visa eligible?

Yes, the Lede Program is eligible for an F1 Visa. Should you be accepted, the university’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) will work with you directly to sort out all visa-related issues. If you’re interested in further info, see here.

Is this program J1-Visa eligible?

You may be able to extend a J1 visa, but you will not be able to renew it. Contact your sponsor to confirm if you’d be allowed to enroll in Lede prior to graduating from the principal program associated with your visa. It’s unlikely that you’d be permitted to enroll in Lede if you have already graduated from that program.

Is the Lede Program OPT eligible? How about the STEM extension?

Lede 12, the one-semester summer program, is not eligible for OPT.

Lede 24, the two-semester summer + fall program, is eligible for OPT. As of June 2016, Lede 24 is not eligible for the 17-month STEM extension.

Other questions

Please don’t hesitate to reach out at or using the live chat widget below.