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Flight Training Scholarships:Three Things to Know
By Kyle Garrett
A question that often comes up when you're considering flight training is whether or not there are scholarships available. The short answer is "yes", but that doesn't really help much when it comes to finding these often elusive sources of funding. The real trick with flight training scholarships is realizing that it takes time and energy to find, apply for, and receive them. None of them just drop in your lap, and like college scholarships there are more small scholarships than large ones. You're more likely to find several scholarships that add up to a substantial dollar amount than you are to find a single scholarship to cover all of your training. So, where can you find scholarships? As a start, you might want to consider the following: flight schools, aviation organizations, and conventional scholarships.
Some Flight Schools Offer Scholarships
Flight schools aren't all that different from other schools, so they often offer their own scholarships. Sometimes this comes in the form of a graduate or local business offering to create a scholarship for students of a particular school. Others take shape from a business or organization creating scholarships for flight training in a particular state. The bottom line on these kinds of scholarships is to ask around. Many of these aren't well publicized, so they can be easier to get if you qualify. Unfortunately, that also usually means they are difficult to discover. When you're considering flight schools, ask if they offer any scholarships, search the local news sites, and consult aviation or flight training news websites for articles about "scholarship applications" or "scholarship winners." You may find something for which you qualify.
Organization Scholarships can Pay Off
Some of the most stable and largest sources of flight training scholarships are aviation organizations like the International Council of Airshow Foundation and Women in Aviation International (WAI), both of which offer numerous scholarships annually. For the best success in this arena search aviation organizations websites for scholarships. The organizations, like WAI often require membership to qualify for a scholarship, but that's a small price to pay for some of the scholarships that are available, not to mention most of these organizations do great work. Don't forget more specific organizations such as aircraft-type clubs, vintage organizations and organizations like Helicopter Association International.
Conventional Scholarships Can Help, Too
Finally, if you're seeking a four-year or two-year degree, you may find that some conventional scholarships will cover your flight training. This is dependent on your school and how they handle their flight training, but you might find some success. At the very least, you may find that with the school fees paid you've got more money to devote to flight training. Usually these funds will come via your school's financial aid department and are contingent upon filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is required each year and most funds are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. It's a relatively painless process and all you've got to lose is a little time.
The important takeaway when it comes to scholarships is they only come to those who are willing to invest the time and energy. You will have to put in the time and effort to make sure you're qualified; often this is no more than a simple application, but sometimes an essay or other work is required. You may find it is helpful, once you've located scholarships and applied, to keep a copy of all the materials in order to speed up the next application. The bottom line with flight training scholarships is to apply to as many as you are qualified for and let the money add up. After all, every little bit helps.