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Top Aviation Scholarships in 2022
In addition to providing an exciting career path, pilots, copilots, and flight engineers are also highly compensated. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for airline pilots was $130,440 in 2020! This makes aviation a very lucrative career pathway for students. The good news is that there are aviation scholarships and flight training scholarships to help support your education.
Jump ahead to:
- Top aviation scholarships
- Top colleges for aviation scholarships
- Frequently asked questions about aviation scholarships
- Summary of aviation scholarships
- Upcoming scholarships
- Explore these other scholarship categories
Keep on reading to learn more about specific aviation scholarships that students can apply for, as well as some college-specific scholarships that may be up your alley!
Top aviation scholarships in 2022
- Eligibility: Open to students age 16 of years or older who want to become licensed pilots
- Amount: Full cost of a private pilot certificate
- Deadline: January 15, 2022
- Eligibility: Open to Junior or Senior High School Music students who want to learn to fly
- Amount: Varies
- Deadline: January 31, 2022
- Eligibility: A range of scholarships are offered for pilots at every stage of their journey, from undergraduate to graduate and beyond
- Amount: $10,000 to full funding
- Due: April 15 for Spring awards and October 15 for Fall awards
- Eligibility: Students at all levels of education who are interested in aviation, aeronautics, astrophysics, engineering, or a related fields
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: Rolling monthly deadlines (Winners announced March 1st, 2022)
- Eligibility: High school seniors planning a career in the general aviation field
- Amount: $2,500
- Deadline: June 24, 2022
- Eligibility: Open to students who aspire to careers as a pilot, aviation maintenance, or aircraft maintenance.
- Amount: Varies
- Deadline: Varies
- Eligibility: A variety of scholarships that are open to pilots at all levels
- Amount: $500 to $2,000 (at least five awards are given out)
- Deadline: Varies
- Eligibility: Applicants must be a member of Women in Aviation International by November 1st. Women in Aviation hosts a variety of scholarships and students are able to apply for up to three!
- Amount: Varies
- Deadline: Varies
Top colleges for aviation scholarships
The above private aviation scholarships are an important part of paying for your education. However, savvy students will also identify specific colleges and universities where they can qualify for need-based and merit-based financial aid. We recommend that students use the Net Price Calculator to estimate need-based financial aid.
If you are interested in aviation and aerospace, here are some of the top colleges and universities that you should be considering:
Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana)
- Purdue offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees in their School of Aviation and Transportation.
Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University (Arizona & Florida)
- Do you want to attend a college that is completely focused on aviation and aerospace? Embry-Riddle offers just that and is the largest such institution in the world.
Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio)
- Ohio State is home to the Center for Aviation Studies which includes the Ohio State University Airport (which is the third busiest airport in the entire state!)
University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, North Dakota)
- The John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at UND provides students with a blend of liberal arts courses and professional aviation education.
Frequently asked questions about aviation scholarships
Do airlines give aviation scholarships?
Many airlines offer scholarships to help future pilots through flight school. One example is Envoy Air’s Future Airline Pilot scholarship. Envoy Air is the company that runs pilot hiring for American Airlines. So, not only will this scholarship help you pay for flight school, but it may help you secure a job with American Airlines after graduation.
Some airlines have been taking steps to become more involved in the training and recruitment process. For example, United Airlines founded the United Aviate Academy in 2020. They have a wide selection of scholarships available, and they automatically strike certain costs for students who go on to fly with them.
Do I need a bachelor’s to get an aviation degree?
In general, airline pilots do not need a college degree. There is no law mandating a pilot’s degree for pilots. However, some airlines may require their pilots to hold a degree, so you’ll have to do research specific to the airlines you are considering.
Becoming a pilot can be a great way to find a well-paying job without putting up the huge sum required to go to college. But it is also true that a lack of a college degree may limit your options for advancement and earning higher pay.
How many hours do I need for a pilot’s license?
The FAA requires that all students earn 1,500 hours to become a pilot. However, you should note that this requirement may vary by airline. While 1,500 hours is the minimum, some airlines may require that you earn more in order to land a job as a pilot.
Is becoming a pilot worth the cost of a degree?
For the most part, being a pilot is well-worth the cost of a degree. If you know that piloting is the career you want, it is a great option, with a 2020 median salary of $130,440 and a lower education cost than most bachelor’s degrees. For example, the 2022 cost for a full education at United Aviate Academy is $71,250, which is a small fraction of full tuition at any four-year institution.
Especially if you supplement that tuition with scholarships, this is extremely affordable considering the high pay of the profession. Just remember – it is an intensive profession that is not for everyone. Before paying the money for a degree, make sure to talk to pilots and get an idea of the lifestyle they live to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Also see: How much student loan debt is too much?
Can I use FAFSA for aviation school?
Some flight schools may use the FAFSA to assess a student’s financial need, but this can vary school-by-school. You might also be able to qualify for the Pell Grant and Stafford loans through the FAFSA. However, this can vary based on the accreditation status of your flight school. Make sure to check with your prospective schools to see whether their students can receive Pell Grant money and federal loans. This could have a substantial effect on the school’s affordability.
Summary of aviation scholarships
- Lyons Aviation Scholarship
- Flying Musicians Scholarship
- Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarships
- Take Flight With Embry-Riddle Scholarship
- Navigate Your Future Scholarship
- AeroClub of New England’s Scholarship Program
- University Aviation Association Scholarships
- Women in Aviation International Scholarships
Upcoming aviation scholarships
- Eligibility: Open Air Force Association members age 16 years and older
- Amount: $10,000
Explore these other scholarship categories:
- Top STEM scholarships
- Scholarships for women
- Top engineering scholarships
- Scholarships for high school seniors
- Top no essay scholarships