Aviation is an exciting profession, with opportunities ranging from helicopter pilots to air traffic controllers. Degrees are fairly expensive to earn, since the fees cover flight costs and lab fees. It is not uncommon for aviation students to graduate with a significant amount of debt from student loans. There are also issues unique to aviation, like weather complications and scheduling disruptions. These make the path to college degrees challenging for aviation students.
That does not mean, however, that you have to go into debt to achieve an aviation degree. Aviation scholarships and grants are helpful in covering common costs, like tuition, fees and books. Since aviation students are dedicated and talented, they can often win scholarships awarded outside their area of discipline, as well.
The scholarships below are just a small sample of those available to aviation students. They will give you a good idea of the types of scholarships you can expect to find when you are funding your education in aviation.
AOPA Flight Training Scholarship Program
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the Scholarship Fund of Breitling Aviation offers aviation scholarships for student level pilots who haven’t completed their check ride for the FAA and who do not yet hold any type of pilot certificate.
To support exceptional student pilots, the AOPA Foundation awards 25 scholarships. They range in value from $2,500 up to $12,000. The foundation also awards funding to not for profit groups offering flight training.
The AOPA Foundation accepts donations to support their scholarship program for flight training students. Their goal is supporting passionate aviation specialists of any age who will serve as ambassadors for the field of aviation. You can learn more about this opportunity at the AOPA scholarships webpage.
GRCF Joshua Esch Mitchell Aviation Scholarships
The Grand Rapids Community Foundation offers these scholarships to students who are US citizens and enrolled either part time or full time at a university or college that provides a flight science curriculum that is accredited.
Students must be in their second year of schooling and have a 2.75 or higher GPA. You may be pursuing training in a field like aviation safety, general aviation or aviation management, as a professional pilot. You must have a valid pilot’s certificate (not a student level certificate) and a letter of recommendation from an aviation professional. Learn more about eligibility at the GRCF website.
UAA Janice Barden Scholarships
The University Aviation Association (UAA) awards this scholarship annually to five undergraduate students who are studying in a field related to aviation at a member institution of UAA. Each award is worth $1,000.
The Barden Scholarship was named for active aviation member Janice Barden, who served as the chair of the National Business Aviation Convention Local Committee.
To be eligible for these aviation scholarships, you must be a US citizen. You can win regardless of your national origin, religion, race or sex. If you win a scholarship, it must be used by the end of the next school year. The NBAA website has more helpful information.