Gap Year

Gap Year Scholarships & Grants to Apply For in 2022

Ready to go on a gap year... but your bank account isn't? Here are the gap year scholarships and grants that will make your gap year a reality!

Gap Year Scholarships - Naima L., Rustic Pathways

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 organizations and their awards that you can apply for to help fund the gap year program of your dreams.

Gap Year Crash Course: Scholarships & Funding

Learn even more about how to fund your gap time with this recorded webinar from the 2021 USA Gap Year Fairs series!

Then explore this list of open scholarships and grants:

Royal Society for Asian Affairs

The RSAA Travel & Adventure Award

The U.K.-based Royal Society for Asian Affairs grants £1,000 to adventurous travelers who plan their own trips to Asia (i.e. no organized programs) and which have a focus on environmental conservation. The successful applicant is required to submit a 1,500-word report of their trip upon returning home. *Please note, at this time the program is not accepting applications due to COVID-19.

Requirements:
  • Applicants must be aged 21-28 at the time of application.
  • Applicants may be of any nationality but should be normally resident in the UK.
Award:
$1,000
Cow House Studios
Cow House Studios

Cow House Studios Gap & Summer Scholarships

Cow House Studios offer several scholarship opportunities for both our summer program Art on the Farm and our gap year program FieldWorks. All scholarship applicants must submit a portfolio that demonstrates an advanced practice. We assess student portfolios by determining how the realization of completed artworks reflects a young artist’s curiosities, concerns, experience, and research. You can read more about these opportunities and the application process on our website.

Award:
$1,300 - $12,950
Verto logo
Verto Education

Verto Education Opportunity Grant

This grant awards students between $5,000 and $10,000 based on their household income, as long as it is under $125,000/year. Households that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic may also apply for the Opportunity Grant in Latin America.

Award:
$5,000 - $10,000
Eva Gunther Foundation

Eva Gunther Fellowship

The Eva Gunther Foundation offers need-based fellowships to young girls in the San Francisco area who don’t have the financial ability to experience certain programs that pique their interest, such as travel programs or basketball camp.

Requirements:
  • Ages 11-18 female who resides in the S.F. Bay Area
Award:
$2,000
The Pollination Project

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.

Requirements:
  • Must be running an early stage social change project
Award:
$1,000
Global Citizen Year

Global Citizen Year Scholarships

Global Citizen Year hopes to offer more scholarships and funding to their students than any other gap year program in the world, and is dedicated to making their experiences affordable. GCY offers 30% of its participants full-tuition scholarships and 80% receive partial scholarships. Merit and need-based scholarships available.

Requirements:
  • Must be an applicant for Global Citizen Year Fellowship
Award:
$5,000 - $32,500
EF Gap Year

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:
$10,000
Provider
EF Gap Year
GoEco

GoEco Volunteer Scholarships

To assist prospective volunteers in taking part in one of their programs, GoEco, an eco-tourism company, awards one flight voucher of $1,000 and waived fees for a two-week program, plus travel insurance to successful beneficiaries of their scholarships. To apply, you must be currently enrolled at an educational institution to be eligible for the award.

Requirements:
  • Aged 18+
  • Students currently enrolled in a college or university
Award:
$1,000 - $3,000
Provider
GoEco
Rustic Pathways

Rustic Pathways Scholarships

Every year, travel company Rustic Pathways give away $250,000 to students from across the world. Scholarships are varied and it's worth checking back in after they've been awarded as late-season scholarship redistribution -- where uncollected grants are reallocated to new applicants -- takes place a few months later. Among their scholarships, the most relevant to prospective volunteers are the following:

Service Scholarships: Available to those who have never participated on a Rustic Pathways program before, this scholarship covers most or all of the program fees for a service-learning project with the company and is available to those who demonstrate financial need.

Gap Year Scholarships: Recognizing academic merit, these scholarships are available to cover some of the fees of a one-semester gap year program with Rustic Pathways.

Requirements:
  • Merit or financial-need based
Award:
$500 - $1,500
SYA logo
School Year Abroad (SYA)

SYA Program Scholarships

School Year Abroad (SYA) offers scholarships to high school students who demonstrate exceptional academic ability, commitment to their home school communities and passion for exploring other cultures.

Requirements:
  • Must be enrolled in an SYA program
Award:
$5,000 - $25,000
Deadline:
United Planet

United Planet Service Scholarships

Several scholarships are available for those looking to volunteer for a short or long-term period abroad with the non-profit organization United Planet, who work with communities in over 35 countries around the world.

Requirements:
  • Applicants must be first-time Quest participants.
  • This scholarship may not be combined with any other scholarships offered by United Planet.
  • You must be 16 years of age to join
Award:
$350 - $1,000
YFU logo
Youth for Understanding (YFU)

YFU Financial Aid Fund

If you're an active member of your high school's key club, this scholarship is for you! Youth for Understanding (YFU) offers over 200 full and partial merit-based scholarships and needs-based financial aid to students every year, and is applicable for travel in nearly 40 countries.

Requirements:
  • Must be an applicant for a YFU program
Hostelling International
Hostelling International

HI USA Explore the World Scholarship Program

If you've limited experience of traveling abroad, the Hostelling International World Scholarship Program is likely right up your street. Awards of $2,000 are available to help young people from the US travel abroad and experience cross-cultural exchange. To be successful, your planned trip must have an educational or service-learning element.

Requirements:
  • Be 18-30 years old
  • Be U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Have a demonstrated financial need
  • Reside or attend school in one of the 13 metropolitan areas where HI USA has a community presence
  • Be planning an upcoming international trip that involves an educational and/or volunteer service component
Award:
$2,000
High Mountain Institute

High Mountain Institute Award

If you’re looking at one of the four High Mountain Institute programs to Patagonia, consider applying for financial aid. Your application must include tax forms from the last two years and will be awarded based on SSS (school and student services calculator) used by National Association of Independent Schools, which HMI is apart of. In addition to tuition and other travel costs, High Mountain Institute also provides discounted gear rentals to financial aid recipients.

Requirements:
  • Must be attending a High Mountain Institute program and demonstrate financial need
Award:
$1,000 - $15,000
Omprakash

Omprakash Ethical Global Engagement Grants

The Ethical Global Engagement Grants, funded by volunteer platform Omprakash, are for those planning on volunteering with an Omprakash partner abroad and who also wish to enroll on the EdGE learning platform, but are financially unable to do so. They have a range of scholarships, including:

EdGE Gap Year Grant: Available to those aged 22 and under who plan to volunteer for six months with an Omprakash partner and completely covers the cost of the EdGE tuition, plus $2,700 towards travel and living costs abroad.

EdGE Travel Grant: For those committed to volunteer for at least three months with an Omprakash partner, with grants ranging between $500 and $1,500.

Requirements:
  • Must enroll on the EdGE learning platform
Award:
$500 - $1,500
Interexchange

InterExchange Foundation Christianson Fellowship

The InterExchange Foundation Christianson Fellowship awards up to $10,000 to young Americans who are passionate about helping communities abroad thrive and are eager to learn about the local culture. Fellows identify a project or an organization working on an issue they care about, and with the support of the Christianson Fellowship, contribute their skills and passion to that endeavor for at least six months on-location abroad. This intercultural experience is a meaningful way to help others, improve skills, and gain insight about another culture.

Requirements:
  • 18-28 years old at project start date
  • U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident
  • Participating in an impact-oriented internship or volunteer abroad project for at least 6 months
  • Willing to submit blog posts and a written report upon completion
Award:
$2,500 - $10,000
Deadline:
Carpe Diem

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. The Carpe Mundi Scholarship is for Portland-based students. Grants are mostly need-based, and applications open in January.

Requirements:
  • Must be eligible for a Federal Pell grant, must have applied/been accepted into Carpe Diem program
Masa Israel

MASA Israel Journey Scholarship

MASA Israel Journey is funded by the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency for Israel to encourage young Jewish people (ages 18 - 30) to experience the country. They provide scholarships to students on a need-basis.

Requirements:
  • Must be a Jewish student, between the ages 18-30, without Israeli citizenship
Operation Groundswell

Operation Groundswell Financial Needs Grant

For those interested in an Operation Groundswell program, consider applying for financial assistance through the Operation Groundswell Financial Needs Grant. You'll submit information about yourself, the program you want to go on, and why you need financial assistance, and the OG team will review your information to determine what financial assistance they can provide. Applications are accepted throughout the year, so be sure to apply as soon as you apply for the Operation Groundswell program you choose.

Requirements:
  • Must be attending an Operation Groundswell program
Award:
$500 - $1,500
Photo by Vanessa D., Abridge Academy Alum

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!

This post was originally published in June 2019, and was updated in October 2021.