4 Places to Look for Aviation Scholarships

College students interested in STEM fields, including aviation and aerospace, can find funding.

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A young pilot poses with an airplane.
A young pilot poses with an airplane.

December 17 marks the 109th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air human flight. In honor of their soaring accomplishment, we've researched a number of scholarships for students whose heads are in the clouds.

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF), created by the Mercury 7 astronauts, awards twenty-eight $10,000 scholarships annually. Their mission is to promote the importance of science and technology to the general public, and they provide college scholarships for students pursuing science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) degrees.

Scholarship candidates must be at least second year (sophomore) college students, have excellent grades, and have conducted a substantial amount of lab and research work in their field. In addition, they must be nominated by a faculty member at one of the 27 participating colleges and universities, so check the list and contact the ASF liaison at your school if you are interested in applying for this prestigious award.

[Learn more about scholarships for STEM majors.]

Women pursuing flight should look into the variety of scholarships available through The Ninety-Nines (99s), Inc., the International Organization of Women Pilots, whose Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarships & Awards provide fully paid flight training, jet type training, technical training, emergency maneuver training, and a $5,000 renewable academic scholarship toward one year of a college degree in aviation or aerospace.

Eligible applicants are 99s members; a recommendation from your local chapter must accompany the application. The deadline is right around the corner—after December 20, applicants will need to wait another year.

[Check out these college scholarships for women in STEM.]

The Aircraft Electronics Association Educational Foundation scholarship program provides scholarship assistance for students interested in careers in the aircraft electronics and aviation maintenance industry.

Awards range from $1,000 to $35,000 and include scholarships for specific schools (Tom Taylor Memorial Scholarships to Spartan College of Aeronautics & Technology in Tulsa, Okla.); studying in Canada (Field Aviation Co. Inc. Scholarship); type of program (Chuck Peacock Memorial Scholarship for students planning to study aviation management); and birth continent (Monte R. Mitchell Global Scholarship for European students pursuing a degree in aviation maintenance technology). The application deadline for scholarships available through AEA is Feb. 15, 2013.

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If you are a resident of New England, look no further for scholarship opportunities than the Aero Club of New England. ACONE provides numerous scholarship awards for pilot training and aircraft maintenance.

To be eligible for the Aircraft Maintenance Scholarship, students must use the scholarship funds within one year, demonstrate financial need, and be at least 16 years old. To be eligible for the Pilot Scholarship, students must also hold current Airman and Medical Certificates and have accumulated a total flight time of 100 hours. Applications must be submitted by March 30, 2013 for consideration.

Janine Fugate, the recipient of numerous scholarships at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, holds a bachelor's degree from the College of Saint Benedict, Saint Joseph, Minn., and a Master of Public Affairs from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities. Fugate joined Scholarship America in 2002.

Corrected 12/17/12: A previous version of this post misstated the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight.