Aviation Scholarships

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Where to Find Aviation Scholarships

Do you need financial help to make a dream of being a pilot or working in the aviation industry come true? Aviation scholarships and other college scholarships cover many areas not limited to pilot training.

Some scholarships may help finance a degree leading to an aviation profession. For instance, plane maintenance, airport management and avionics to list a few.

Others may help offset costs of getting a pilot license. Or of pursuing a specific certification. One example is the William M. Fanning Maintenance Scholarship. It is a $2,500 award from the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

Who are Aviation Scholarships for?

If the grantor is an organization, you may need to be a current member. However, you may need to show that you are a working professional in business aviation. This includes pilots, maintenance professionals, schedulers, dispatchers, flight attendants and flight technicians.

Also, there are a wide range of scholarships for high school and college students. There are degrees in areas such as:

  • Aviation maintenance
  • Aeronautical science
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Air traffic management
  • Aviation business administration

If this is your goal, expect to furnish grades. Additionally, eligibility may depend on financial need and how well you express your goals in an essay.

Is There Any Scholarship for Pilot Training?

The AOPA is one source for private pilot training scholarships. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association pilot scholarships may offset costs of training.

To stand out as a candidate, you need to show how you merit the award. Aviation focused leadership activities and volunteering since freshman year may help.

Flight School Scholarships

One source for aviation scholarships are colleges with flight schools. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifies many civilian flight schools.

Some are small fixed base operators (FBO). Others are universities with aviation science programs. In addition, there are colleges and universities that offer pilot training. These may be part of a 2- or 4-year aviation degree.

One example is Western Michigan University. They have a large college of aviation. Students here can pursue a bachelor’s degree in aviation flight science and other areas. The Alan H. Conklin Business Aviation Management Scholarship is one to apply for.

Another is available at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. The Lawrence Ginocchio Scholarship offers five awards each year. Recipients get $4,500 to help pay for their education. Applicants usually need to submit grades, references and an essay.

Women in Aviation Scholarships

For instance, Women in Aviation International is a major provider of scholarships. These awards are for both men and women in aviation. In 2019, they awarded $875,500 to 156 recipients. They offer flight training scholarships and others that fund a college degree.

In addition, another helpful resource for women is the 99’s. An international association of pilots, they offer several scholarships too. These cover

  • Initial flight training
  • Type rating
  • Academic scholarship
  • Technical training
  • Emergency maneuver training

Also, the 99s offers a research grant and a New Pilot award. You’ll need a recommendation from a chapter to apply.

Why are Aviation Scholarships a Popular Choice?

Aviation scholarships are a popular choice for aspiring pilots. If your goal is to become an airline pilot, you usually need a bachelor’s degree in any subject. Along with the degree, you need a commercial pilot’s license and an ATP certificate from the FAA.

Grants and scholarships are one way to offset costs of tuition, books and flying expenses. The average in-state cost of attending aviation school is $5,861. If you plan to attend an out of state school, the average tuition is $28,746.

This can seem steep and out of reach given the competition for jobs. However, pilots retire every year, growth in the industry is on a slow climb. There should be about 4% more jobs on the market by 2026.

In any case, those who do secure jobs may find they pay well. Lastly, check the average annual salary for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers was $140,340.

Can You Get a Pell Grant for Flight School?

Federal funding may or may not be available for flight school. To receive a Federal Pell Grant, you must attend an accredited school.

Colleges with regional or national accreditation take part in federal aid programs. Furthermore, if you attend a pilot training program at an accredited flight school, you may be eligible for the Pell Grant.

If this is the case, then you should start by filling out a FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid figures out how much money you are eligible to get.

In contrast, you do not have to pay this money back. However, you need to abide by the terms.

For students attending an unaccredited flight school, private scholarships and loans are options.

List of Aviation Scholarships

Check out our list of aviation scholarships below. We have 135 awards worth $1M.

Dan L. Meisinger, Sr. Memorial Learn to Fly Scholarship

This award is for college sophomores, juniors and/or seniors who are currently enrolled in an aviation program and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Preference is given to residents of Kansas, Missouri or Illinois.

Total: $2500

Awards: 1

Deadline: November 27, 2020

Tourism N Travel Small Business Scholarship

Applicants must have a declared major or minor in the College of Hospitality, Tourism, Aviation, Business, Economics, Finance, and a passion for entrepreneurship.

Total: $2000

Awards: 1

Deadline: December 15, 2020

Amelia Earhart Memorial Academic Scholarship

The Amelia Earhart Memorial Academic Scholarship was created to assist students pursuing a college degree in an aviation-related field. This scholarship is available for U.S. women who are current or incoming students studying aviation-related field. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Total: $20000

Awards: 2

Deadline: January 01, 2021

Amelia Earhart Memorial Flight Training Scholarships

The Amelia Earhart Memorial Flight Training Scholarship is available for U.S. women who are seeking instruction as a pilot. Awards can be used to pusue an initial pilot license, jet-type rating, or emergency maneuver training.

Total: $60000

Awards: 3

Deadline: January 01, 2021

Amelia Earhart Memorial Vocational/Technical Scholarship

The Amelia Earhart Memorial Academic Scholarship was created to assist students pursuing a college degree in an aviation-related field. The scholarship program is available for U.S. women who are enrolled in or planning to enroll in an aviation or aerospace technical training or certification course.

Total: $40000

Awards: 2

Deadline: January 01, 2021

John R. Sandberg Memorial Scholarship

The John R Sandberg Memorial Scholarship is available for U.S. residents who are pursuing a career in an aviation-related field, or those who are active in their local aviation community.

Total: $5000

Awards: 1

Deadline: January 31, 2021

Michael Blume Scholarship

U.S. students who have been accepted or currently attending a four-year college or university in pursuit of a degree leading to an aviation profession. Students must be recommended by a current EAA member or be a current member.

Total: $5000

Awards: 1

Deadline: January 31, 2021

LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation Flight Training Scholarship

This scholarship is available for U.S. students who plan to pursue a career in aviation as a professional pilot. Students must be between 16 and 23 years of age at time of application.

Total: $9000

Awards: 1

Deadline: January 31, 2021

UAA Janice K. Barden Aviation Scholarship

This award is for students majoring in aviation who are entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year in college. The student must have a 3.0 grade point average or higher to be eligible.

Total: $5000

Awards: 5

Deadline: January 10

AOPA Advanced Rating Scholarship

The AOPA Advanced Rating Scholarship supports U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident AOPA members seeking ratings or certificates. It awards scholarships ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 to AOPA members pursuing ratings or certificates in Instrument, Commercial, CFI, CFII and MEI Instructor.

Total: $10000

Awards: 10

Deadline: March 01

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