In rare circumstances, admitted, domestic applicants may delay first-year admission for one year. A student who is approved to take a gap year does not need to submit a new application to the Office of Admissions nor do they need to pay an additional application fee.


Domestic first-year applicants who are admitted to fall semester and have accepted admission by May 15 may apply for this benefit. A gap year can only be granted from one fall semester to the following fall semester. Gaps longer than one year require submission of a new application.

Students can request a gap year for the following reasons:

  • Military service
  • Unique travel or work opportunity
  • Cultural enrichment opportunity
  • Illness
  • Other (Please let us know your specific circumstance)

Students cannot take a gap year to enroll in another college or university or participate in a program that earns college credit or to establish Iowa residency.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

If approved to take a gap year, students retain first-year admission status. Students will be reconsidered for merit scholarships awarded by the Office of Admissions using the scholarship criteria and dollar amounts being used for their new term of entry. Scholarship awarding criteria and dollar amounts are subject to change.

Students who have been awarded a collegiate or departmental scholarship need to contact those specific offices or colleges to confirm eligibility for their new term of entry.

If your gap year appeal is approved, your financial aid awarded through the Office of Student Financial Aid will be canceled. You must reapply through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the new term of entry. Aid is awarded separately for each academic year. Aid may change year to year based on family income and assets and the household size and number in college, along with the FAFSA filing date.

The FAFSA can be filed beginning in December the year prior to when you plan to enroll. FAFSA filers are encouraged to use the IRS Retrieval Tool to pull in income data directly from the IRS. Students should file the FAFSA as soon as it becomes available in December and before Feb. 1 for priority consideration for scholarships and grants awarded by the UI Office of Student Financial Aid.

How to Apply for a Gap Year

  • Accept our initial offer of admission and pay the $325 acceptance fee by May 15 prior to the original term of admission.
  • Complete the gap year application below prior to May 15.*
  • Send final high school transcripts to Undergraduate Admissions at the end of the senior year of high school.

Once a gap year request has been submitted and reviewed, the student will be notified via email if they have been approved or denied.

*Students who fail to accept admission and complete the gap year application by May 1 prior to the original term of admission, will be asked to accept our offer of admission again and pay another $325 acceptance fee to confirm your spot at the University of Iowa.

If Approved for a Gap Year

Students who are approved for a gap year, but have changes to their application information (enrollment at another institution, criminal disclosure, academic misconduct disclosure, etc.) must contact Undergraduate Admissions to update their application information.

Failure to follow the guidelines established in this policy can result in the loss of first-year status, scholarships, or admission to the University of Iowa.