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Aviation scholarships could be from colleges with flight training programs, local businesses, nonprofits, and aviation organizations. The Federal Aviation Administration which is a government agency also provides awards and grants. Aviation scholarships and other college scholarships may cover the cost of flight school as well as pilot training.
Some college 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 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).
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:
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.
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.
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.
For instance, Women in Aviation International is a major provider of scholarships in aviation. 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 typically cover the following:
Also, the 99s offers a research grant and a New Pilot award. You’ll need a recommendation from a chapter to apply.
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.
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.
Check out our list of aviation scholarships below. We have 189 awards worth $2M.
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The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
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