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How can I pay for my gap experience?

Fundraising options for gap students include: scholarships, university-based financial aid, and private funding opportunities. You’ll find a few of these listed here. Another great resource is the Gap Year Association: At EF, we offer a limited number of scholarships to qualified students (see below).

EF Gap Year - Fundraising - scholarships

EF Gap Year scholarships

EF Gap Year - Fundraising - Financial aid

University-based financial aid

EF Gap Year - Fundraising - Private funding

Private funding

EF Gap Year - Fundraising - Ideas

Fundraising ideas

EF Gap Year Scholarships

Each year, EF Gap Year awards up to $50,000 in merit-based scholarships and fellowships to qualified students enrolled on a Gap Year or Gap Semester to help them offset the cost of their program.


The Global Citizen Scholarships are awarded to students who show great enthusiasm, aptitude, and commitment for learning and growing in a global community. Multiple scholarships may be awarded, with Gap Year students earning awards up to $10,000, Gap Semester students earning awards up to $5,000, and students on our Costa Rica Immersion program earning up to $3,000.

Submission criteria
• 400-500 word essay or a 2-5 minute formal video presentation
• Letter of recommendation from a teacher or guidance counselor
• Video interview for finalists

Essay / Video topic
Tell us how you have already demonstrated a global mindset in and out of the classroom; how your upcoming EF Gap program will help you to become a better citizen of the world; and how global citizenship will help you achieve your future goals.


Recipients of the Global Influencer Fellowship are natural storytellers. As an EF Gap Year Fellow you will share your experiences during the time you are abroad via various online and social media platforms. The Fellowship includes mentorship from marketing professionals at EF Gap Year to transform your story ideas into published work. Multiple fellowships may be awarded, with Gap Semester students earning a $1,000 fellowship and Gap Year students earning a $1,500 fellowship.

Submission criteria
• Proposed influencer messaging strategy
• Examples of your storytelling via links to writing or social media posts
• Video interview for finalists

Proposal topic
In today’s world, information can be shared on a global scale in an instant. Influencers have the responsibility of setting a great example for those around them. As an EF Gap Year Fellow, what kind of stories would you share with the world? Submit a one-page proposal outlining your key messages and mediums.


Any student who is officially enrolled on an EF Gap Year, Gap Semester, or Costa Rica Immersion program is eligible to apply. Our Global Citizens Scholarships and Global Influencer Fellowships are awarded primarily on the basis of merit and how well the applicant meets the submission criteria. Scholarships and fellowship awards are applied as a reduction to your program fee and have no cash value. Other restrictions and eligibility criteria may apply. Please read the following Terms & Conditions carefully.


Send all of the submission criteria for the scholarship or fellowship to which you are applying by the appropriate deadline (see below) to

• Please use the name of the scholarship to which you are applying as your email’s subject line.
• Essays should be submitted as either a Microsoft Word or PDF.
• If you submit a video, please first post it to your own YouTube or Vimeo channel and then provide us with the link in your submission email. 


The deadline for Gap Year or Semester applicants with a September start date is as follows:

  • Early Enrollment Deadline: March 31
  • Standard Enrollment Deadline: June 30

The deadline for Costa Rica Immersion applicants with an October start date is as follows:

  • Standard Enrollment Deadline: June 30

The deadline for all Gap Semester applications with a January start date is as follows:

  • Early Enrollment Deadline: August 30
  • Standard Enrollment Deadline: October 30

Travelling is always better with a friend! Students already enrolled in our program can receive a discount when they refer a friend to join them on their Gap Year or Semester Program

Gap Year
• $500 Discount for You
• $500 Discount for Your Friend

Gap Semester
• $250 Discount for You
• $250 Discount for Your Friend

Discount Details
Discount is provided when a student refers a friend and the friend books on their same program. Discount will only apply once students have departed on program.


University-based financial aid

Several U.S. colleges offer financial aid specifically designed for gap year students. If you have been accepted into one of the following colleges, take a look! If you haven’t applied to college yet, these are worth keeping in mind.


From UNC’s website:

“Interested students can now combine their love for travel and commitment to service by applying for the new Global Gap Year Fellowship, which is open to students who apply for our Early Action deadline and are admitted to Carolina

... The fellowship is made possible by an anonymous donation of $1.5 million aimed at students who would be otherwise financially unable to fund a gap year. UNC will be selecting seven incoming first-year students for a Global Gap Year Fellowship. The fellowship provides $7,500 to each student for use toward a gap year that is committed to service abroad.

Gap Year Fellows will receive support from staff and students as they prepare for their year abroad. Fellows will then integrate their experience into their education when they return to campus with the support of GAPPL, a student community dedicated to advocating gap years and supporting gappers and GGY Fellows upon their return.”


Visit UNC's website.


From the Gap Year Association’s website:

“FSU is proud to be one of the few universities in the country (and the second public university) to offer financial assistance to students taking a gap year. Students applying for a gap year deferment will automatically be considered for a scholarship of up to $5,000 to support their gap year. FSU is committed to helping make the transformative opportunities afforded by a gap year accessible to students regardless of their family’s income.

... Students undertaking a gap year will be invited to participate in structured group activities and reflection upon returning. Once matriculated at FSU, gap year students will be encouraged to build on their gap year experience and connect with the vast curricular and co-curricular programs of FSU, with assistance from offices such as the FSU Center for Leadership and Social Change and the Center for Undergraduate Research & Academic Engagement. Other requirements for students granted a deferment of matriculation can be found online.”


Visit FSU’s website.


From Warren Wilson’s website:

“Awarded to students who have demonstrated exceptional leadership capacity or commitment to their community, including involvement in some form of volunteer activity. Students may also be considered who have excelled in extra-curricular activities, including athletic teams, student governance, gap-year programs, semester schools, Outward Bound and more.”


Visit Warren Wilson’s website.

Please note: All of these opportunities are included based on public information on the internet at the time of publication. We do not have any connection to these programs and cannot provide any guarantee as to their continued availability or applicability.

Private funding

Many private organizations offer scholarships and funding. Check out Rotary International and Lions Club, or ask other community service clubs in your area if they would be willing to sponsor you. For help creating a proposal, ask your EF Gap Year Advisor. Keep in mind that every bit helps, and don’t be discouraged from applying for scholarships that might seem small. They all add up!


Check out this extensive link on the Gap Year Association’s website. The link also walks you through some other creative options.


Try fundraising! Write members of your community, try crowdfunding, host a talent show, or hold a bake sale. You might even ask your employer if they’d be willing to match every dollar you earn with a donation for your gap year. Let us know what works for you!


The experts at the Gap Year Association have a great web page describing some tried and true fundraising methods.

Travel Access Project Gap Year Grant

Travel Access Project awards up to ten $3,000 scholarships annually for Gap Year travel and education. The grant money can be used toward travel or educational costs associated with your Gap Year.


Check out the Travel Access Project website for more information:

Questions? Speak with an EF Gap Year Consultant.