Alternative Breaks are an important component of a William & Mary education for many students. As such, they are immensely valuable - but unfortunately, they can be expensive. Students often take on part-time jobs to save money for their alternative break and fundraise through contacts with family and friends. Branch Out team members also work together on fundraising endeavors to support their teams.
Individuals are responsible for covering the cost of their participation in the program. A deposit is required upon acceptance for each trip and payment in full is required well in advance of the trip. Because we pay in advance for many of our expenses, we are not able to refund payments when a participant can no longer travel. Please view the timeline for payments and financial aid applications on our Important Dates page.
Branch Out values socioeconomic diversity in our teams, so we offer need-based financial aid to lower the barriers for students to participate in our alternative breaks. Applications are available online, and the process is confidential. All international team members must contribute at least $300 toward their alternative break, and all domestic team members must contribute at least $50. For those who have financial need, financial aid can help close the gap between team members’ contributions and fundraising, and the final cost of their trip.
Please note, for our spring alternative breaks the second round of financial aid will close on Wednesday, January 31st, at midnight.
Please note that our number of applications increases each year, and most applicants who receive awards receive 10-40% of their trip cost, based on their financial need.
All recipients of financial aid are asked to contribute a small project to Branch Out in return for their aid, such as a blog post or coordinating a local service project post-trip. These projects deepen student learning and show our funders and supporters the impact of Branch Out. If, after receiving financial aid, you are unable to participate in your trip, you will not be expected to complete a blog post or other project.
Paying to Volunteer?
Branch Out's policy is to compensate all of our housing and community partner sites for their time and expertise in coordinating logistics, supervising service projects, providing issue education, orientation and training, and to offset any costs they may incur in the process of the alternative break.
While it may seem surprising to some that we compensate our sites in addition to providing the service we offer as volunteers, Branch Out values this practice as part of our partnerships with communities and in recognition for the high quality of service projects that we are privileged to participate in, and the significant time and energy it takes to host volunteers. Feel free to talk more with your Site Leaders or our Branch Out Coordinators for more information about your specific alternative break's budget.