Naropa University Buys LEAPYEAR College Gap Year Program

The purchase extends Naropa's commitment to remain at the cutting edge of education by offering degree programs that not only inform, but transform.

Boulder, CO, June 20, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Naropa University in Boulder, CO has purchased LEAPYEAR, the unique and comprehensive gap year program that offers a full year of college credit to students ages 17-23 who seek an alternative to traditional education.  Naropa, founded in 1974, is North America’s pioneering Buddhist inspired, non-sectarian, accredited university, and the first to build its undergraduate and graduate liberal arts curriculum on a foundation of contemplative education. The modern mindfulness movement was born at Naropa, and the university has been the school of record for LEAPYEAR for the past 4 years. When LEAPYEAR founders Sam and Cassie Bull decided it was time to explore new opportunities, Naropa was very pleased to have the chance to purchase their exceptional program.

This is an important step in the evolution of education in America, as it makes Naropa the first American institution of higher learning that has integrated the experiential and developmental benefits of a gap year into a four-year undergraduate journey, extending Naropa's commitment to remain at the cutting edge of education by offering degree programs that not only inform, but transform.

The benefits of a gap year are increasingly well documented and now fully 1/3 of high school seniors consider a gap year after graduation.  In the past, gap year options were primarily accessible to the affluent.   With the addition of LEAPYEAR, Naropa has expanded funding options for all students seeking structured experiential and international learning options in their first year of college.

LEAPYEAR, which integrates 3 months of group travel and service, a 3-month internship, and inner-focused US-based retreats, gives students the opportunity to discover a personally relevant context for their higher education, early on in their college career.   Other unique aspects of the program include formal rites of passage for a conscious transition into adulthood and an emphasis on living in community throughout the year.  The program may also be attended by non-credit students, or students looking to complete high school in an alternative way.

“Naropa University has long been committed to offering experiential learning together with mindfulness and compassion training to a diverse student body,” said Naropa President Charles G. Lief. “LEAPYEAR shares our mission and we are delighted that the founders have entrusted their wonderful program to us. We are also excited that LEAPYEAR students will now start their program in Colorado and have access to Naropa’s exceptional faculty throughout their learning journey.”

"We founded our program 24 years ago after working at Naropa, where we were inspired by Naropa's vision of an education that truly transforms," said Sam Bull.  "Placing our program into the context of a forward-thinking institution of higher education seems a perfect next step for the evolution of the LEAPYEAR program."


About LEAPYEAR: LEAPYEAR was founded in 1994 by Sam and Cassie Bull. With roots in the gap year movement, LEAPYEAR has been a pioneer in the process of integrating international exploration with academic credit, rites of passage, and an explicit focus on the inner journey.

About Naropa University: Located in Boulder, Colorado, Naropa University is a private, liberal arts institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Naropa University is a leader in contemplative education, an approach to learning and teaching that integrates Eastern wisdom traditions and traditional Western scholarship. Naropa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


LEAPYEAR students in a unique classroom environment. LEAPYEAR students are immersed with local populations.

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