Funding pilot training can be difficult. Many students take out loans from financial institutions. Some use government benefits such as the
Montgomery G.I. Bill. However you choose to pay for flight school, scholarships can help you keep the cost down.
Finding aviation scholarships can be challenging, thought, and the application process is sometimes rather daunting. Most scholarship applications demand personal essays, letters of recommendation, education transcripts and a history of your volunteer work or community involvement. Many require you to be an active member of the organization to apply.
So how do you find a scholarship for flight training?
Here are a few tips:
- Be persistent: Scholarship information is available through many different organizations, but you’ll need to devote some time and energy to finding them. An internet search reveals many different websites to browse for flight training scholarships. You’ll need to sort through these search results to filter out the ones that don’t apply to you (there will be many). You can also go a step further and search for specific organizations that help pilots, like AOPA, WAI and the 99s. You’ll want to go directly to the organization’s website to look for scholarships. Many of these organizations don’t market their scholarships externally, so in order to find out about them, you’ll need to be a member or be resourceful enough to find the information yourself.
- Join Professional Organizations: Many professional organizations charge an annual fee to be a member. It’s worth paying the money if you plan on applying for scholarships with that organization. Women in Aviation, International, for example, offers many different scholarships to its members, both men and women.
- Volunteer: You’ll want to build up your resume before you start applying for scholarships. Often, scholarships are given to those that contribute to society in a helpful way. If you volunteer or take an active role in your community, your chances of earning a scholarship will be better.
- Don’t Give Up: Scholarships are available for all stages of flight training, from private pilot training to jet transition courses. If you don’t earn a scholarship right away, keep trying. You might get one later on, once you’ve improved your resume, networked with other aviation peers and made connections in the industry.
Tips for International Students:
- Search for scholarships in your home country, too. Some organizations will offer scholarships for flight training in the USA if you plan on returning to your home country, for example.
- Many flight training scholarships in the U.S. are available to U.S. residents only. Make sure you check the requirements before you apply.
- You may find it best to attend a flight training program like PEA’s before you begin applying for scholarships in the U.S. Your chances of winning scholarship money will increase if you’re serious about your aviation career and are already enrolled at an accredited institution when you apply.
Aviation Scholarship Resources:
To get you started, here are a few websites that offer scholarships for pilots: