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New program funds gap year programs for accepted students

A new Duke program will give admitted students a chance to take a gap year before coming to college—on Duke's dime. 

Students admitted to the Class of 2023 via the early or regular decision processes will be able to apply for between $5,000 and $15,000 of funding for the gap year program of their choice. Students can either design their own program or sign up for a pre-approved program, funded by the Duke Gap Year Program. 

Receiving funding will not affect students' need-based financial aid packages and students who decide to take a gap year will not need to participate in the program. 

“On many metrics of student performance, from level of retention to student happiness, there’s evidence that taking a gap year provides benefits in both the short term and the long term,” said Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions, in a release.

The program, which will support roughly 15 to 20 projects annually, is funded by a gift from Laura and Gary Lauder, Silicon Valley philanthropists. 

The program's website notes that students coming to Duke have typically been busy and focused for many years. Gap years provide a chance to counter those draining years. 

"This is your opportunity to catch your breath for a year, to gain some perspective, to make a difference in a community near or far, to grow as a person, and to be better prepared for all that college has to offer, all with financial support from Duke," the website reads


Ben Leonard

Managing Editor 2018-19, 2019-2020 Features & Investigations Editor 


A member of the class of 2020 hailing from San Mateo, Calif., Ben is The Chronicle's Towerview Editor and Investigations Editor. Outside of the Chronicle, he is a public policy major working towards a journalism certificate, has interned at the Tampa Bay Times and NBC News and frequents Pitchforks. 

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