Gap Year

20 Gap Year Scholarships & Grants to Apply For in 2019-2020

Elaina Giolando
Elaina Giolando
Topic Expert

A former management consultant turned nomad, Elaina writes about the intersection of career, life, and travel on topics including internships abroad and gap years.

Gap Year Scholarships - Naima L., Rustic Pathways
Photo credit: Naima L., Rustic Pathways Alum

Organizations around the world have recognized the value of young people taking time off to design their own travel experiences or participate in programs that are designed with the gap year mindset.

As the trend towards taking gap years for more experiential travel consistently increases, so do the funding opportunities. You can now find scholarships and grants specifically for gap years, alongside traditional offerings for study abroad, critical language learning, and volunteering overseas.

If you've been struggling to find gap year-specific funding, here is a list of 20 organizations and their awards that you can apply for to help fund the gap year program of your dreams.

USA Gap Year Fairs Student Ambassador Scholarship

This scholarship was established to "recognize students who have demonstrated outstanding motivation and determination to pursue gap year experiences." It provides $2,000 awards towards the cost of a gap year program with one of their partners (a lengthy list of world-class programs), and yes, Go Overseas is one of the financial sponsors.

  • Award: $2,000
  • Requirements: Taking a gap year between May 2019 and May 2020
  • Deadline: June 1 (2019/2020)
  • Application: Click Here
Gap Year SCholarships - Iker A., Plan My Gap Year India
Photo credit: Iker A., Plan My Gap Year India Alum

Rustic Pathways Scholarships

Rustic Pathways has some incredible offers that cover the full cost of their programs and have a combination of need and merit-based scholarships. In 2018, they awarded $285,000 in scholarships to deserving students.

  • Award: Full tuition and airfare for a RP program
  • Requirements: Ages 13-18
  • Deadline: April 15 (2020)
  • Application: Click Here

EF Gap Year Awards

EF Gap Year has awards of up to $5,000 for students in their gap year and semester-long programs. Various scholarships are available for leadership, blogging, videography, and photography. Over $50,000 of funding is available every year.

  • Award: Up to $10,000
  • Requirements: Must be enrolled in an EF program
  • Deadline: June 30/October 30 (2019)
  • Application: Click Here

Travel Access Project Gap Year Grants

Travel Access Project offers 10 grants of $3,000 each for anyone doing any type of gap year! Applications are open from January 15 to March 1 of every year and are open to anyone over the age of 18 from any country.

  • Award: $3,000
  • Requirements: No age or citizenship restrictions
  • Deadline: April 1 (2020)
  • Application: Click Here
Gap Year Scholarships - Izzy R., Plan My Gap Year Sri Lanka
Photo credit: Izzy R., Plan My Gap Year Sri Lanka Alum

Carpe Diem Education Scholarships

Carpe Diem Education awards $30,000 annually to support diversity and inclusion in its programs. The Access Scholarship provides up to $5,000 for a gap year semester or full-year experience. The Inclusion scholarship offers up to $2,000 for a gap year semester. Grants are mostly need-based.

  • Award: Up to $5,000
  • Requirements: Must be eligible for a Federal Pell grant
  • Deadline: May 1 (2020)
  • Application: Click Here

InterExchange Christianson Grant

InterExchange helps fund meaningful service projects around the world. This grant awards U.S. citizens 18-28 years old who are carrying out independently-arranged service trips overseas for longer than 6 months. Grants are for up to $10,000 and there are 3 grant cycles each year.

  • Award: $2,500-$10,000
  • Requirements: U.S. citizen ages 18-28 engaged in a service project abroad for at least 6 months
  • Deadline: March 15/July 15/October 15 (2019/2020)
  • Application: Click Here

The Pollination Project

The Pollination Project gives $1,000 grants to "support passionate, committed people with an early-stage social change vision." Funding can be applied to travel expenses related to the execution of the project.

  • Award: $1,000
  • Requirements: Must be running an early stage social change project
  • Deadline: Rolling deadline
  • Application: Click Here
Gap Year Scholarship - Sky G., Pacific Discovery Australia
Photo credit: Sky G., Pacific Discovery Australia Alum

Back a Gapper Scholarship

This program is organized through the Gap Year Association and aims to match donors and gappers with individual awards of $5,000 based on the criteria of the specific donor. Contact GYA for more information.

  • Award: Up to $5,000
  • Requirements: Varies
  • Deadline: Varies
  • Application: Click Here

Tzedek America Gap Year

Tzedek America "transforms lives, strengthens Jewish identity and changes the world through immersive social justice experiential education." They provide scholarships of $5,000 to students with financial need for their semester or year-long residential gap year for students ages 17-20 with Jewish identity.

  • Award: $2,000
  • Requirements: Jewish students ages 17-20
  • Deadline: March 1/May 1 (2020)
  • Application: Click Here

Amigos de las Americas

This organization offers need-based financial aid for its programs, worth up to $5,000, as well as fundraising support for students who indicate they need help to pay for their travel expenses. A $500 tuition discount is offered if you apply early!

  • Award: $500-$5,000
  • Requirements: Ages 13+
  • Deadline: Varies
  • Application: Click Here
Gap Year Scholarships - Morgan F., Plan My Gap Year
Photo credit: Morgan F., Plan My Gap Year Alum

Global Citizen Year Scholarships

Global Citizen Year claims to offer more scholarships and funding to their students than any other gap year program in the world and prides themselves on making their experiences affordable. GCY offers 30% of its participants full-tuition scholarships and 50% receive partial scholarships. Merit and need-based scholarships available.

  • Award: Up to $32,500 full tuition scholarship
  • Requirements: Not yet enrolled in university
  • Deadline: Sept 5/Dec 5/March 5/May 10 (2019/2020)
  • Application: Click Here

Up With People

Up With People offers several scholarships and grants to 17-29-year-olds interested in travel and the performing arts. $5,000 worth of support is available for cast members based on financial need, merit, or diversity. Other awards up to $10,000 are available for African Americans, Mexican citizens, and Estonian citizens.

  • Award: $5,000-$10,000
  • Requirements: Ages 17-29
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Application: Click Here

Freeman Awards-Asia

Freeman provides scholarships of up to $7,000 for undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in Asia. For U.S. students only.

  • Award: Up to $7,000
  • Requirements: U.S. citizens with financial need who are currently enrolled in university
  • Deadline: April 5 (2020)
  • Application: Click Here
Gap Year Scholarships - Naima L., Rustic Pathways 1
Photo credit: Naima L., Rustic Pathways Alum

CIEE's Global Navigator Scholarship

This scholarship is a merit-based award that can be applied to any CIEE gap year program. Every year, CIEE awards $100,000 in scholarships for students participating in their programs. Sign up on their website to stay up-to-date on new grants.

  • Award: Varies
  • Requirements: For CIEE programs only
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Application: Click Here

ISA (International Studies Abroad) Gap Year Grant

ISA offers $6,000 grants to high school students who are accepted into one of their summer or semester programs and who have at least a 3.0 GPA.

  • Award: Up to $6,000
  • Requirements: Must be a high school student
  • Deadline: April 15 (2020)
  • Application: Click Here

HI USA Explore The World Scholarships

HI USA grants would-be-travelers ages 18-30 $2,000 towards travel plans that have an educational or service component. They plan to give out 86+ awards in 2019. Some geographic restrictions apply.

  • Award: Up to $2,000
  • Requirements: U.S. citizen ages 18-30
  • Deadline: March 2 (2020)
  • Application: Click Here
Gap Year Scholarships - Ian M., Where There Be Dragons Myanmar
Photo credit: Ian M., Where There Be Dragons Myanmar Alum

Omprakash's Ethical Global Engagement Grant Program

Omprakash grants up to $2,500 towards the cost of international travel and living expenses (Omprakash does not charge a volunteer fee) for recipients 18-22 years old who are volunteering or interning with an International Omprakash Partner for at least 6 months. They also award numerous travel grants and scholarships to help offset the cost of their programs, some of which are open to anyone regardless of age and nationality.

  • Award: $500-$2,500
  • Requirements: Ages 18-22
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Application: Click Here

Mesothemiola.net Scholarship

Mesothemiola.net offers a special scholarship for any currently enrolled university student who has been affected by cancer in his or her life. Applicants are eligible for a $2,000 award to support university studies or a gap year experience.

  • Award: $2,000
  • Requirements: University student who has battled cancer personally or has a close family or friend who fought cancer
  • Deadline: August 15 (2019)
  • Application: Click Here

Brower Youth Awards

Brower support outstanding environmental projects of students 13-22 years old living in North America. Every year, 6 winners get a cash prize of $3,000 to support their social impact project and promote environmental activism around the world.

  • Award: $3,000
  • Requirements: Ages 13-22 living in North America
  • Deadline: May 1 (2020)
  • Application: Click Here
Gap Year Scholarships - Claire H., KIVU Global Gap Year
Photo credit: Claire H., KIVU Global Gap Year Alum

Winterline Global Education

Winterline offers a $25,000 Full Tuition Scholarship and a $10,000 Global Skills Scholarship for their 9-month Global Skills Gap Year Programs for students 18-22. They also offer $5,000 work-study scholarships in the fields of photography, journalism, and videography. They also offer discounts for applying early and bringing a friend. Need and merit-based students are welcome to apply.

  • Award: Up to $25,000
  • Requirements: Ages 18-22
  • Deadline: Feb 15 (2020)
  • Application: Click Here

Keep in mind that the number one thing you can do to boost your chance of receiving a scholarship is to apply to LOTS of opportunities. After all, you only need to receive one to make your gap year possible.