Tuition & Financial Aid


LEAPYEAR is a fully-integrated year of college, so unlike other gap year programs LEAPYEAR students receive a full year of college credit while they travel.  As a result of this integration, LEAPYEAR students have access to Federal Financial Aid as well as the LEAPNOW scholarship.

The equivalent academic credit from another mid-range private liberal arts college would cost $28,000 for the academic credits alone.   Doing LEAPYEAR, you receive this credit while learning abroad for 22 weeks of each year and for 8 weeks of intensive US-based residential seminars.

LEAPYEAR tuition and fees is $34,900 and includes:

  • all scheduled program activities,

  • food and accommodation during the program,

  • one full year of college credit,

  • a full year of additional internship placements after LEAPYEAR, and

  • annual reunions for as long as you care to attend them.

Not included is the cost of round-trip transportation to northern California during the program, international airfare, personal medical insurance (usually covered under parents' policy), and personal spending money. The average cost of airfare for group travel is ~ $1,500. Individual internship flight costs vary widely.

How to Fund the Most Extraordinary Year of College

At LEAPNOW, we strive to give all students the opportunity to participate in our incredible LEAPYEAR program.  We believe financial support is essential for making the program available to as many inspired young adults as possible.  Our team works diligently to help students get the support they need.

The LEAPNOW Scholarship

LEAPNOW offers a generous supplemental scholarship for LEAPYEAR students of up to $10,000. 

Who is Eligible?

Scholarship awards are based on combined financial need and demonstrated fit for the LEAPYEAR program.  We want to support outstanding young adults who are passionate about making a positive difference in the world and who otherwise may not be able to afford the LEAPYEAR program.  LEAPNOW scholarships are offered as a supplement to the federal financial aid offered through Naropa University.

How to Apply for the LEAPNOW Scholarship

Step 1 – Submit your LEAPYEAR application.

Step 2 – Submit a scholarship request letter that contains the following information:

  • A description of your family’s current financial situation, including how much you can realistically contribute to the LEAPYEAR tuition. Please be specific.

  • Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and/or your estimated financial aid from the FAFSA.

  • The specific dollar amount you are requesting as scholarship from LEAPNOW. Generally, scholarships range from $500-$10,000.

  • A description of any fundraising you have done or plan to do to supplement the scholarship requested.

  • Any other pertinent information that will aid us in making a scholarship decision.

Scholarship request forms can be emailed to

Call us at 707-431-7265 or email with questions!


Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA)

Who is Eligible?

All LEAPYEAR students are enrolled as full-time college students at Naropa University, and are thus eligible for Federal Financial Aid.  Every American citizen is entitled to low-interest student loans.  Federal financial aid is easily accessed through the FAFSA process (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at

How to Apply for Federal Financial Aid

Step 1 – Complete the FAFSA form.   You can complete the FAFSA form online at the FAFSA website (   Below  are a few  things to note while completing this step:

  • FAFSA has a forecaster that can help you predict your financial aid package.  The link is available on their home page. 

  • LEAPYEAR is accredited through Naropa University.  Naropa's FAFSA code is 014652

Step 2 – Wait to receive your Award Letter.  After you complete the FAFSA, a Student Aid Report (SAR) is generated.  A copy of your SAR is automatically sent to the financial aid offices at the schools that you highlighted on the FAFSA as prospects.  The SAR shows your family's Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which assists Financial Aid Offices in determining your financial aid award.  The Financial Aid office will send you an Award Letter listing the amounts of financial aid for which you are eligible.  This may include grants and scholarships (which don't have to be repaid), low-cost Federal Loans including Federal Stafford Loans, and PLUS Loans.

Other Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarships available for undergraduate students studying abroad

With advance planning you may be able to obtain scholarship and loan money for your LEAPNOW program. Below are several scholarships that we have found to be helpful for LEAPNOW students.

  • Complete Guide to Study Abroad Scholarships.   A great central location for a wide variety of funding sources.
  • Test Drive Your Future: Gap Year scholarships for students 18 - 25 who wish to use their gap year experience as an "Extreme Test Drive", to figure out what they really want to do with their college and career path.
  • LIVFund: LIVFund was established in 2011 in order to recognize and proudly support study, internship and volunteer opportunities in Latin America. LIVFund has been designed for anyone who wants to learn, intern or volunteer [LIV] in Latin America and is seeking financial assistance in order to offset program or living abroad expenses. Their goal is to help others get the most out of their experience abroad.
  • Fund for Education Abroad: The newly established Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) was created in order to open doors for deserving education abroad students. Starting with the 2011-2012 academic year, FEA will award funds for students planning to study abroad on any academically rigorous programs.
  • The Foundation for Global Scholars: A non-profit organization located in Denver, Colorado whose mission is to create global citizens and leaders by assisting students in achieving their personal and professional goals of obtaining cultural and academic experiences abroad. The Foundation will support this mission by awarding scholarships to help enable students to obtain an international experience. Students who are from underrepresented populations in international education are a priority.
  • Schepp Foundation: Requires university credit and good GPA.
  • Marion Wright Edelman Scholarship: Requires university credit (for students of minority background)
  • America's Unofficial Ambassadors: Scholarships ranging from $2,000 - $5,000 to support Americans volunteering in Muslim-majority countries.
  • Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA): They offer awards of up to $7,000 to U.S. undergraduate students needing financial support to study abroad in East/Southeast Asia. The primary goal of this scholarship is to increase the number of American undergraduates who study in East and Southeast Asia by providing them with the information and financial assistance they will need. Visit their website for more information.
  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Gilman Scholarships provide up to $5,000 for American students to pursue overseas study for college credit. Students studying critical need languages are eligible for up to $3,000 in additional funding as part of the new Critical Need Language Supplement program. Critical Need Languages include Arabic, Chinese. Korean, Russian, Turkic (Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkish, Turkmen, Uzbek), Persian (Farsi, Dari, Kurdish, Pashto, Tajiki), Indic (Hindi, Urdu, Nepali, Sinhala, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Sindhi). They have approx. 2 applicants for each award.
  • Bridging Scholarships: They offer $2,500 scholarships to students participating in study programs in Japan.
  • British Council: Funding studies in the United Kingdom.
  • Institute of International Education: Provides scholarships for study outside of W. Europe, Australia, New Zealand & Canada.
  • Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships: For undergraduate, graduate & vocational study, the scholarship is set up to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas.
  • Scholarships for Multicultural Students: Hosted by Michigan State University, this page lists several scholarships for various minority groups.
  • UK 9/11 Scholarship Fund: For those who lost a parent or guardian in the 9/11 attacks.
  • The Earth Island Institute Brower Youth Award: An organization that recognizes young people for their outstanding activism and achievements in the fields of environmental and social justice advocacy. Maximum Award: $3,000. Eligibility: youth ages of 13-22. Deadline: May 15.
  • The Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarships: The Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarships offer financial assistance to two graduating seniors with documented learning disabilities (LD) who are pursuing post-secondary education.
  • Varsity Tutors College Scholarships: Monthly $1000, based on an essay.
Scholarships For Californian Residents, two good resources:

$6,000 Gap Year Scholarship for Humbolt County Residents

  • The Humboldt Back-A-Gapper Scholarship is endowed by the generosity of Richard Stepp, a Humboldt State University Professor and philanthropist. Students must (A) be a resident of Humboldt County, California, and (B) be applying to participate on an AGA-Accredited program. The application is not needs-dependent as we all know how squeezed the middle class are too in this era. The deadline for application is July 1st with awards being decided by July 15th. For more information, contact: For a list of AGA-Accredited programs: To apply for this scholarship, visit:

Most states have scholarships for their residents - search for scholarships in your specific state through the Internet. Also, a number of Universities offer Entrance Scholarships to students that have participated in an alternative education or gap year program. When you're looking at schools, remember to ask about Gap Year Scholarships.

Free scholarship services and scholarship information

These services offer more information on how to find and apply to scholarships you are eligible for:

Loans for study abroad

  • GreenNote: An organization that helps students connect with their social network—friends, family, friends of family, community leaders and others—to ask for small student loans. GreenNote helps formalize everything into legally binding loans and handles all the details.


Get creative. Try connecting with your local community, religious and academic organization. Your local Rotary Club is a great place to start. These groups may set aside funding or take special collections for students. They might also choose to sponsor a student, because these groups often see students volunteering abroad as representatives or role models and may even ask you to speak at their meetings when you return home.

Past students have written to friends and family and gotten them to give a donation toward their LEAPYEAR in lieu of birthday or Christmas presents. Some restaurant chains have a deal where you invite a bunch of people to come and eat, and they give 10% of the final amount paid back to you as a fund-raising support. Get donations from businesses and friends for auction items, and hold an auction to help you pay for your year.

Other past LEAPYEAR students have substantially reduced the cost of their program by gathering frequent flyer miles for their international and domestic airfares (potential savings of up to $3,000), by choosing low-cost or paying internships, and by fund-raising through friends and family. LEAPYEAR students have raised up to $7,000 through these kinds of efforts.

Check out this excellent guide to fundraising for travel written by Blake Boles of Unschool Adventures.

"I tried something else. I discovered early on that I was tired of being in a classroom, but I still wanted to learn. I needed to stretch my wings out and explore what lies beyond that horizon we all look to at sunrise and sunset. Beyond those distant hills, those plains and grasses, those lapping waters of the great oceans. What is out there?"
- LEAPYEAR Graduate