Scholarships & Fundraising

Our EF Gap Year scholarships and ideas for funding your gap.

Boy wearing cap smiling into the distance
Know all of your options.

At EF Gap Year, we understand that our programs can be a significant expense for many families.

You’ll find information below on how to defray the cost of your program—from scholarships and fellowships to university-based financial aid and private funding opportunities.

EF Gap Year scholarships

Every year, we award up to $50,000 in merit-based scholarships to make our programs more accessible to passionate and qualified students.

Global Citizens Scholarship

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.

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

  • Early Enrollment Deadline: March 1
  • Standard Enrollment Deadline: June 30

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

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

The deadline for Sustainable Development in Costa Rica and Global Business Strategy in London applicants is as follows:

  • Standard Enrollment Deadline: May 15
Global Influencer Fellowship

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.

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

  • Standard Enrollment Deadline: June 30

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

  • Standard Enrollment Deadline: November 30

The deadline for Sustainable Development in Costa Rica and Global Business Strategy in London applicants is as follows:

  • Standard Enrollment Deadline: May 15
Diversity & Equity Scholarship

We believe that our world is a better place when we can recognize and celebrate the diversity of our individual and community identities. Our cohorts of EF Gappers represent a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences, and we want to continue to foster an inclusive environment of young people who bring their unique identities to their EF Gap cohort. EF will be awarding up to $10,000 for 2021 travelers. Multiple scholarships may be awarded.

Submission criteria:

  • 400-500 word essay on the topic below
  • Letter of recommendation from a teacher, guidance counselor, or community member
  • Video interview for finalists

Proposal topic

Diversity of our human population, and in those who study abroad or travel, is critically important in creating an open, understanding, empathetic, and balanced world. In 500 words or less, please address: what does diversity mean to you and how have your identities impacted your desire to take a gap year?

The deadline for Gap Year or Semester applicants with a September 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:

  • Standard Enrollment Deadline: November 30

The deadline for Sustainable Development in Costa Rica and Global Business Strategy in London applicants is as follows:

  • Standard Enrollment Deadline: May 15

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, Global Influencer Fellowships, and Diversity & Equity Scholarships 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.

How to apply

Send all of the submission criteria for the scholarship or fellowship to which you are applying 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.
  • Recommendation letters can be emailed directly to by the recommender or included in your submission email.
  • 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.
Bring a friend discount

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.

Terms & Conditions

These terms and conditions govern both the EF Global Citizens Scholarships and the EF Global Influencer Fellowships (together the “Scholarships”). By submitting an application for a Scholarship, you are agreeing to these terms and conditions. In some cases, you may also be required to sign an individual scholarship agreement. This Scholarship is administered by EF Institute for Cultural Exchange Inc. (“EF”)

This scholarship will be based on your submission in accordance with the requirements described above on the website Recipients will be selected based on their submissions. To be considered you must complete and submit all required information by the stated deadline. If your application is selected, you have seven (7) days to respond with your acceptance. Failure to respond within the deadline may result in the scholarship offer being withdrawn. You are responsible for any tax implications arising out your receipt of this Scholarship.

All submissions become the property of EF and you are not entitled to any consideration beyond the stated Scholarship amount. No photos, videos, or other media will be returned.

If you become a Global Influencer Fellow, you will create content such as articles, blog posts, photograph image files and/or video on behalf of EF Gap Year to be published online and on social media. You agree to give EF or its designee irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty free rights to use the article/blog post/photo/video for any purpose including publication, display, modification, and creation of derivative works.

You agree not to submit any content that infringes the rights of others or violates their privacy or publicity rights, is protected by copyright, trademark or other proprietary right, or contains a virus, but or other harmful item.

You agree to release, indemnify and hold harmless EF Education First International, Ltd., EF Institute for Cultural Exchange, Inc., their parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, agents, employees and all others associated with the development and execution of the Scholarship (the “Released Parties”) from any and all liability with respect to or in any way arising from this Scholarship and/or acceptance or use of the Scholarship, including liability for personal injury, death, damages, loss or any actual or alleged infringement or misappropriation of any third party proprietary rights.

EF is not responsible for entries that are corrupted or otherwise not received correctly or for any problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of email, or on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website or combination thereof, including injury or damage to participants or to any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating or downloading materials in the scholarship. EF assumes no responsibility for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by website users or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the scholarship or by any technical or human error which may occur in the processing of submissions in the scholarship. EF assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, entries, including lost, late or misdirected entries. EF is not responsible for user cheating or fraud by any entrants. Any activities intended to disrupt or interfere with the competition, or defraud EF in any way may be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Participants engaging in any of the foregoing activities will be disqualified and any Scholarships awarded will be forfeited. If, for any reason, the competition is not able to be run as planned, including without limitation infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of EF which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this competition, EF reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the competition. The decisions of EF are final and binding in all respects.

University-based financial aid options

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.

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.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Global Gap Year Fellowship, which is open to students who apply for Early Action deadline and are admitted to Carolina, provides $7,500 to each student for use toward a gap year that is committed to service abroad. Learn more.

Florida State University

Students applying for a gap year deferment will automatically be considered for a scholarship of up to $5,000 to support their gap year. Learn more.

Warren Wilson College

The Community Engagement and Leadership Scholarship is awarded to “students…who have excelled in extra-curricular activities, including athletic teams, student governance, gap-year programs, semester schools, Outward Bound and more.” Learn more.

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!

Additional resources & creative ideas

Here are some more ideas for how you can approach fundraising. For a comprehensive list of travel grants and creative ideas that could apply to you, check out this page on the Gap Year Association’s website.

USA Gap Year Fairs $10,000 Scholarship

USA Gap Year Fairs grants a tuition scholarship up to $10,000 USD and mentorship from an expert gap year counselor. Apply by April 15, 2021.

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.

Creative & entrepreneurial funding

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.