Gap Year Grant FAQ

What is a Gap Year?

According to the Gap Year Association, “A Gap Year is an experiential semester or year “on,” typically taken between high school and college in order to deepen practical, professional, and personal awareness.”

A Gap Year is at least three months taken away from traditional education in favor of real world learning. It’s a time to focus on experiential education, work to clarify future goals, try some new things and explore interests, often while traveling and expanding worldview at the same time.

We are believe that travel is an excellent teacher and the world is the best classroom. Our goal is to get a Gap Year on every resume. Perhaps you’ll go with an organized Gap Year program. Or maybe you’ll build something completely unique and independent to forward your personal goals. Either way, Travel Access Project seeks to equip and empower people of all ages and experience levels to make the educational most of their journeys.

Who Can Apply?

Anyone who is planning to take a Gap Year combining education and adventure can apply. There is no age restriction or income bracket specified. Of course financial need and the sort of experience being undertaken will be taken into consideration during the selection process.

If you’ve got a big dream to travel for the purpose of learning and you need help with the funding, we’d love for you to apply for a Travel Access Project grant.

Where Does the Money Come From?

Sean Keener, Co-Founder and Chairman of BootsnAll & AirTreks has spent 25 years building businesses in the travel industry and helping over 1,000,000 people take educational trips of a lifetime. With a stated goal of getting a Gap Year on every resume, Sean is putting his money where his mouth is funding these grants for Gap Year travel.

Through the 501c3 non-profit, Travel Access Project, Sean and Jenn have created the scaffolding to build grants for Gap Year travel. The grants are funded by Sean and the organizations he is affiliated with, as well as travelers and entrepreneurs who believe in travel as education and want to give back.

In 2018, Travis Sherry, from Extra Pack of Peanuts, funded some grants. In 2019, Tortuga Backpacks joined the team and funded a grant, in addition to providing backpacks to recipients. They’re back for a second grant and more bags in 2020. Pupusas for Education pioneered a grant for Undocumented Students in 2019 and will reopen applications for 2020. This year, Grayl is joining us in supporting the grant winners with a Geo-Press filtering water bottle, to reduce plastic impact around the planet!

The long term vision is to expand the grant program to include grants from 1000s of like-minded organizations towards our goal of getting a Gap Year on every resume.

How Can I Fund a Grant?

If you, as an individual or an organization, wish to fund a grant please email The donation process is simple and because we are a registered 501c3 it’s also tax deductible.

100% percent of your donation, will go to a student.  Not a single dime will go to administration costs.

There are options available at all donation levels, from a fully funded grant to a smaller donation that will be pooled together with other funds to create a larger grant. If you choose to fully fund a grant, we will work with you to determine your criteria and conditions. Travel Access Project assumes all of the work associated with hosting and awarding the grant and managing the application process. All you have to do is sign the check, take the tax deduction, and feel awesome about changing someone’s life through the power of travel.

Perhaps you are doing your own Gap Year and you want to fund another Gap year, like buying a pair of Tom’s shoes. There are many reasons to consider providing a grant.

How Much of the Money Donated Goes to Students?

Every single dollar donated towards the creation of a grant for Gap Year travel will go directly to students. If you, or your organization, decide to fund a $1000 grant, you can be assured that $1000 will be awarded to a student in your name.

The administrative cost of Travel Access Project funded internally.

Are There Any Conditions?

There are a few conditions placed on the grants awarded by Travel Access Project.

We ask students contribute content in the form of blog posts, or media projects related to their learning experience that we can share as an encouragement to other prospective Gap Year students.

We also ask each grant recipient to participate in a specially designed process which will help that student with trip planning, the educational component, and review their plans for safety and suitability. We are doing our best to make sure that each recipient receives the support necessary to have a successful and productive Gap Year, in addition to the funding.

For any grant funded by an outside organization, there may be conditions, as laid out by that organization. Those conditions will be clearly delineated in the application process.

How Often Are the Grants Awarded?

In 2017, 18 and 19 we awarded seven grants each year, valued at $3000 directly to students. We partnered with Wayfinding Academy, GoOverseas, and EnRoute Consulting to provide several more, smaller, grants in addition. 

Grants will be awarded annually.

Who Gets These Grants?

The majority of recipients are students between high school and university, or between university graduation and starting a career as these are the traditional Gap Year time frames.

In 2017, 18 & 19 recipients were a diverse group of young people from five countries and five continents, speaking at least five languages between them! We accept applicants from all over the world and each application is considered based on merit and financial need. Admittedly, we have a soft spot for independent trail blazers, but students on organized gap year programs have also received our grants.

We’re open to creative pitches from anyone with a vision for how travel and education can empower their path forward.