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GAP year and the Tuition Exchange Scholarship

Is your dependent thinking about taking a “Gap Year” and is applying for or awarded a TE Scholarship?

We hope the following will be of help in understanding what a gap year entails and what your dependent needs to do to secure her TE scholarship. 

What is a gap year?  Most often a gap year is defined as a student taking a year off from her academic studies right after high school. A gap year is a period of time typically the academic year immediately following high school completion and before entering college.

How does the process work when applying for college admission? The student applies for college admission, is accepted and then requests approval from the accepting institution to defer enrollment for up to one year.

What does the admitting school consider as part of the gap year approval process? Most schools will approve the gap year on the condition the student has a plan for what she will do during the gap year. The plan could include traveling, working, having an internship, or completing volunteer work. Once approved, the student pays the enrollment deposit and will enroll the following year and does not have to re-apply to gain admission.

  • What if the student wants to engage in other academic studies, such as taking courses at a community college during the gap year? Some institutions will not approve a gap year if the student plans to engage in academic studies elsewhere within the gap year.  In this situation, the student is not taking a gap year and will need to re-apply for admission. All post-secondary coursework is evaluated as part of the admission process in re-applying to the institution. Taking academic coursework beyond high school graduation can mean the student is considered a transfer student.  This status may impact the student's eligibility for institutional scholarships and the TE scholarship.  We recommend checking with the Import* school about their criteria for gap year approval (e.g., see if the school requires a plan that allows the student to defer enrollment).

How does taking a gap year impact receiving the TE scholarship as offered along with admission to the import institution? The student will need to re-apply for the TE scholarship, as it does not automatically carry forward to the next year when taking a gap year.  It is important to ask the import institution what are the chances for a TE scholarship in the following year after the student takes a gap year and in the future.

  • If the student takes the gap year and the school indicates the reapplication for TE scholarship will be approved, does this mean the student is all set to defer admission? No. The student must also check with the Export** Institution TE Liaison Officer to confirm her continued export consideration for the following academic year. Keep in mind that not every TE member school certifies every employee’s child for TE consideration. Some TE member schools limit the number of student export certifications because they don’t have enough TE spots to meet the demands of every student seeking a TE scholarship.

What about other financial aid?  Normally, the student will have to re-apply for all other financial aid.  Financial aid includes all federal, state and institutional grants/scholarships, student employment, and loans.  These funding opportunities do not automatically transfer forward to the next year.

So how does this all work to ensure I can take a gap year and receive my Tuition Exchange Scholarship?

Taking a gap year and TE scholarship is a three-part process.

  1.  The Import institution needs to approve the accepted student’s request to defer enrollment for one year without having to re-apply for admission. The student pays the enrollment deposit and completes the gap year. The student starts college one year later.
  2. The Import institution confirms it will provide the TE scholarship to the student when enrolling one year later.
  3. Confirming with your Export TE Liaison Officer is the most important item.  The family must verify the Export institution will certify the student’s eligibility for the TE scholarship application for the following year.

It is important that you obtain all of this information in writing or at the least email.  TE Liaison Officers can change jobs.  If you have nothing in writing to verifying your claims, it may not be available due to new application approvals.  

*Import institution refers to the school where the student plans to enroll.

**Export institution refers to the school where the eligible TE employee works.


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