Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
The AOPA High School Flight Training Scholarship is offered to pilot trainees ages 15 to 18. The AOPA Foundation Scholarship seeks pilot trainees ages 16 and over. And the AOPA AV8RS Scholarship is intended for teens from 13 through 18 for a number of aviation-related goals beyond flight training. Awards range from $2,500 to $12,000 and some require a membership in AOPA (the first six months of membership is free to students). All flight training applicants must hold an FAA student pilot certificate. Profiles of previous winners are online.
Since 1929, the Ninety-Nines has promoted the advancement of women pilots, technicians and mechanics, and since 1940 has awarded scholarships to at least 400 women. Their Karen Johnson Solo Scholarship, in conjunction with the WomenVenture portion of the annual fly-in at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, awards $3,000 to women ages 16 to 20 to reach their first solo flight. The Amelia Earhart Scholarship Memorial Fund offers awards up to $6,000 in categories ranging from adding a multi-engine pilot rating to a full type-rating, to learning emergency maneuvers and spins, to women in a non-G20 “emerging economy country” to pursue an aviation career in their own nation. The Ninety-Nines also offer grants to research scholars for “the expansion of human knowledge in areas of specific differences faced by women in aviation: as pilots, as engineers, as administrators, and in military aviation.”
Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals
The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals is dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of minorities in all aviation and aerospace careers. In the last 40 years, the organization has coordinated donations from its 3,000 members to award more than $4.8 million in scholarships to 470 recipients. Scholarships range from undergraduate college tuition assistance for an “aviation related program” to graduate and professional advancement. Their website profiles a student who received $35,000 for training for a 737 type-rating with Delta Air Lines.
Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance
In 2016, the Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance awarded scholarships to 36 women and eight men to study aircraft maintenance at all skill levels, and in 2017 will expand the program through donations from at least 20 maintenance companies, airlines, and cargo shippers. Most scholarships are for tuition but some cover the purchase of mechanic’s tools. Most applications require an essay of 250 words along with academic achievement.
The G.I. Bill for U.S. Military Veterans
An exhaustive list of colleges, flight schools, and technical training organizations may provide free tuition or substantial subsidies to veterans of the U.S. military under the G.I. Bill from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and in some cases for their spouse and children. Hundreds of specialties are covered by the bill, from drone operation to rotorcraft to mechanical skills. Check with Veterans Affairs for your eligibility and for career counseling, then search for and compare educational opportunities using their search engine. For example, as only one of hundreds of listings, the Jeppesen unit of Boeing company provides a fully-paid six week course and housing for aircraft dispatching, to eligible veterans under the GI Bill.
Aerospace and defense company Raytheon sponsors a range of scholarships and competitions for middle-school and high-school age students to promote science, technology, math and engineering. Some are limited to children of Raytheon employees, while others provide up to $10,000 per person for student military veterans, and surviving children of fallen military members. The company also offers an internship for women to focus on cyber security, scholarships for robotics, grants to schools to help implement the MathMovesU program, and $3,000 stipends to elementary school teachers to improve their engineering education.
International Women Helicopter Pilots
The Whirly-Girls scholarship fund from the International Women Helicopter Pilots is offered in 18 categories and totals $150,000 in awards. The fund is driven by proceeds of the annual Heli-Expo trade show and merchandise booth along with contributions from helicopter manufacturers and commercial helicopter operators. At least 18 recipients will be chosen next year and honored at the Heli-Expo banquet. The awards are to help pay for initial flight training, add-on ratings, advanced flight skills, the use of special equipment such as Garmin avionics and Night Flight Concepts goggles, and training in specific aircraft such as the Robinson R22/R44.
Astronaut Scholarship Foundation
The ASF offers financial aid to aspiring astronauts enrolled at 34 cooperating universities. Six of the Mercury 7 astronauts founded the Mercury 7 Foundation, eventually renamed the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, to encourage students to focus on science, and has awarded $4 million to more than 400 scholars. Its original founders have since been by astronauts from Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, and the Space Shuttle. Candidates for a scholarship must be in their second year at a university and nominated by a professor. A liaison committee at each university narrows the field to two candidates who “must exhibit leadership, imagination and exceptional performance in science, technology, engineering and math.” A listing of previous winners and their disciplines is online.
Commemorative Air Force
The CAF Wings Over Houston Air Show awards up to five scholarships to residents of Texas or members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets. At its annual air show, which stages the Tora! Tora! Tora! reenactment, the CAF presents scholarships of $1,000 to $5,000 to full-time college students who have completed at least two years of study. The CAF is a non-profit organization, partly supported by the Lone Star Flight Museum, Texas Flying Legends Museum, Collings Foundation, and Vietnam War Flight Museum.
Aero Club of New England
The Aero Club of New England offers at least 13 scholarships for residents of New England enrolled at its region’s schools. Since 1984, the club has raised money from member companies as well as an annual hangar cookout to fund its education scholarship program. Awards from $200 to $5,000 are primarily distributed to students enrolled at Daniel Webster College, Bridgewater State College, and North Shore Community College, with the remainder to flight schools based in New England.