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Taking a Gap Year Before College – How to Fund Programs

Posted by admin on in College Advice |

CoCo 130820 0207 In many countries college students take a gap year, or a 12 months off, after completing high school prior to heading to college. The United States remains the particular exception to this trend, with the distance year viewed as an opportunity available only to the wealthiest students.

Currently, there are a handful of colleges who may have established programs designed to fund a restricted number of students and remove the financial barriers typically associated with a gap year.   Princeton and the University of Northern Carolina-Chapel Hill were two earlier adopters of this type of program. In mid-March of this year, Tufts College announced a new one plus 4 program, which offers national and worldwide service opportunities for participating college students.   The Tufts program is going to be sponsored by the university and is available to all students regardless of financial need.

When considering whether or not to take a gap year, there are some queries related to affordability that you are going to wish to investigate:

  • How much can you afford?   Plan for living and travel expenses as well as plan fees
  • What are the monetary implications of deferring admission? Often schools do not guarantee scholarships if a student changes his start date to a later semester or academic year 
  • What is the process for reapplying for help? Generally, families will need to reapply regarding financial aid for the following year and might see changes in the aid originally offered
  • How might our financial aid offer change? For college students who work during their gap 12 months, earnings can affect financial aid eligibility the following year
  • With out external funding, what will your from pocket costs be?   Will there be scholarships you can find to cover these costs?

Depending on the plan you choose, there are likely to be some extra financial costs.   While you may spend the next year as a volunteer and receive housing and food in exchange for your efforts, there are many other exciting chances to seize life-changing experiences that may not come cheap.   For example , you may want to take the time to vacation while you are overseas or living in other parts of the country.  

So where can you find help to spend on your gap year experience? You will find few websites we recommend a person review:

Additionally, there are sites for students pursuing quite specific experiences:

  • America’s Unofficial Ambassadors program offers funding to students who are volunteering in Muslim countries – http://unofficialambassadors.com/
  • Brower Youth Awards is a domestic program that offers awards to college students who are invested in creating programs that promote social and environmental alter – http://www.broweryouthawards.org/
  • City Year compensates students with a stipend to meet bills for 11 months while working with students in needy school areas helping them achieve success and which makes it to graduation – http://www.cityyear.org/what-we-do . Make sure that you also check with local organizations and the college that you will be attending for additional opportunities 

Time away between high school and college can offer huge rewards!   While many colleges recognize the value in taking a gap year, college students will have a more enjoyable experience throughout when there is sufficient funding to cover those people opportunities presented during their gap 12 months.



Beth Feinberg Keenan is a member of College Coach’s team of college finance experts . Before joining College Coach, Beth worked as a Senior Financial Aid Official at Northeastern University.

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