He added that the program will probably be extended to all students, with the help of alumni donations that have already been lined up. The $1.5 million provided for the initiation of the program, including its staff and five fellowships for 2011.
Princeton University was the first university to institute a subsidized gap year program, and UNC is the second, Harrill said. The program is quickly catching on at other universities such as Butler University and Stanford University, he added.
Forty students applied for the pilot program, Harrill said.
The program takes students at a transitional part of their life and exposes them to public service, volunteer opportunities and global citizenship, he added.
“What is beautiful is that students develop powerful life skills: time management, ability to manage own finances, adapt to challenges and think on their feet,” Harrill said.
Niklaus Steiner, director of UNC’s Center for Global Initiatives, said Global Gap Year is an important opportunity for students to gain a more focused approach to their college career.
“As UNC becomes more globally-oriented, students who’ve had a Global Gap Year will add value to this effort,” Steiner said.
UNC graduate and former gap-year student Conor Farese created the “Gappl” student organization, which assembles previous gap-year students to use as a resource for incoming students thinking about taking a gap year, Farese said in an email.
“The admissions office was very willing to work with us to discover the most effective ways of encouraging taking a gap year before coming to UNC,” Farese said.
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