Colleges Offer to Pay Students to Take Gap Year

Tufts University’s newest program is trying to remove the financial burden that keeps students from exploring different communities instead of jumping right into college. Simlilar programs are already in place at a few other schools, the “gap year” program starting this fall at Tufts will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can often add up to $30,000 or more.

Roughly 40,000 Americans participated in gap year programs in 2013, a rise of almost 20 percent since 2006, according to nonprofit the American Gap Year Association.

In 2009, Princeton University began offering applicants gap-year aid based on need. Nearly 100 students have participated, volunteering in Brazil, China, India, Peru and Senegal.

The University of North Carolina offers $7,500 to gap year applicants, while students at Wisconsin’s St. Norbert College can receive financial aid based on need, although airfare isn’t covered.