Gap Year

26 Gap Year Scholarships & Grants to Apply For in 2021

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 26 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!

USA Gap Year Fairs Student Ambassador Scholarship

This scholarship was established to recognize US students who have demonstrated outstanding motivation and determination to pursue gap year experiences. It provides awards towards the cost of a gap year program with one of the participating gap year organizations offering a lengthy list of 100+ world-class programs. Worth noting that Go Overseas runs the USA Gap Year Fairs and is thrilled to be a financial sponsor of this scholarship!

  • Award: $10,000
  • Requirements: Taking a gap year between May 2021 and May 2022
  • Deadline: April 15th
  • Application: Click Here

*The scholarship program is now open for the 2021-2022 year.

Gap Year SCholarships - Iker A., Plan My Gap Year India

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. They award more than $40,000 for gap year experiences.

  • Award: Cover part or full program fee
  • Requirements: At least 17 when gap year begins
  • Deadline: Spring 2021 & Summer 2021 will open soon
  • Application: Click Here

*The scholarship program is not yet open for the 2021-2022 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: Up to $10,000
  • Requirements: Must be enrolled in an EF program
  • Deadline: June 30/ November 30
  • 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 15th to February 29th 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: February 29th
  • Application: Click Here

*The scholarship program is not yet open for the 2021-2022 year.

Gap Year Scholarships - Izzy R., Plan My Gap Year Sri Lanka

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 on January 4, 2021.

  • Award: Up to $5,000
  • Requirements: Must be eligible for a Federal Pell grant, must have applied/been accepted into Carpe Diem program
  • Deadline: May 1, 2021
  • 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
  • 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

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

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.

  • Award: Varies
  • Requirements: Jewish students ages 18-30 who don’t have Israeli citizenship
  • Deadline: Up to a month before your MASA program
  • 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-$3,000
  • Requirements: Ages 13+
  • Deadline: Rolling deadline
  • Application: Click Here
Gap Year Scholarships - Morgan F., Plan My Gap Year

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 80% receive partial scholarships. Merit and need-based scholarships available.

  • Award: Up to $32,500 full tuition scholarship
  • Requirements: Must be an applicant for Global Citizen Year Fellowship
  • Deadline: Varies; As early as February 15th
  • Application: Click Here

*The program is currently suspended until August 2021.

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, African Nations, and Native American participants.

  • Award: $5,000-$10,000
  • Requirements: Ages 17-29, must be an incoming cast member
  • 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 6
  • Application: Click Here

*The scholarship program opens in early 2021 for the 2021-2022 year.

Gap Year Scholarships - Naima L., Rustic Pathways 1

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: February 14, April 1, October 15
  • Application: Click Here

ISA (International Studies Abroad) Gap Year Grant

ISA offers grants to high school students who are accepted into one of their summer or semester programs.

  • Award: Up to $5,000
  • Requirements: Must be a high school senior or undergrad student
  • Deadline: April 30, Nov 30, February 28
  • Application: Click Here

HI USA Explore The World Scholarships

HI USA grants would-be-travelers ages between the ages of 18 to 30, a $2,000 scholarship towards travel plans that have an educational or service component. They gave out over 115 awards in 2019. Some geographic restrictions apply. Sign up to their mailing list to know when applications open.

  • Award: Up to $2,000
  • Requirements: Ages 18-30, U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Deadline: Email subscribers notified by email of open date
  • Application: Click Here
Gap Year Scholarships - Ian M., Where There Be Dragons Myanmar

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, must be an applicant for the EdGE program.
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Application: Click Here Scholarship 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 member or friend who fought cancer
  • Deadline: August 15, 2021
  • Application: Click Here

*The scholarship program is not yet open for the 2021-2022 year.

Brower Youth Awards

Brower supports outstanding environmental projects of students 13-22 years old living in North America. Every year, six winners get a cash prize of $3,000 along with a one-week trip to San Francisco, and a professionally-produced film 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
  • Application: Click Here

*The scholarship program is not yet open for the 2021-2022 year.

Gap Year Scholarships - Claire H., KIVU Global Gap Year

Winterline Global Education

Winterline offers a $25,000 Full Tuition Scholarship and a $10,000 Global Skills Scholarship for their nine-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: Varies
  • Application: Click Here

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.

  • Award: $2,000
  • Requirements: Ages 11-18 female who resides in the S.F. Bay Area
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Application: Click Here

Boren Scholarships

NSEP offers up to $25,000 in scholarships and fellowships to U.S. undergrad and graduate students who are going to certain countries with a language study element.

  • Award: Up to $25,000
  • Requirements: U.S. undergrad or graduate student
  • Deadline: January 27, February 3
  • Application: Click Here
Photo by Grace H., Carpe Diem Education Alum

CAPA Grants

CAPA gives its students many options in terms of grants, from diversity grants to need-based grants. There is even a blogger and vlogger grant open to CAPA applicants.

  • Award: Up to $1,000
  • Requirements: Must be applying for CAPA program
  • Deadline: Varies
  • Application: Click Here

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-10 pandemic may also apply for the Opportunity Grant in Latin America.

  • Award: $5,000-$10,000
  • Requirements: Must be applying for Verto Latin America or Verto Hawaii
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Application: Click Here

Mobilize Gap Year Scholarship

Mobilize Jobs offers scholarships to help reduce the financial toll that a gap year may take on a young student, especially because they know how life-changing a gap year can be.

  • Award: Up to $1,000
  • Requirements: Proof of deferred admission
  • Deadline: June
  • Application: Click Here

STEM Lights Me Up Scholarship

If you love STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), you can apply for this easy scholarship by submitting a creative Instagram video. Brightech is giving away $500 to the most creative applicant, and gap years students are eligible too.

  • Award: $500
  • Requirements: Undergrad or gap year student
  • Deadline: December 31
  • Application: Click Here

*The scholarship program is not yet open for the 2021-2022 year.

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 November 2020.