Real Answers from Real Pilots

Merit Based Scholarships


My son is a freshman student pilot working for his Instrument rating. He filled out about 30 scholarship applications in the fall and we had no responses. He has great credentials, works part time on the line service, and carries a 3.5 GPA.

My wife and I both work, certainly not near enough to cover the costs of a flight student, and I am sure that has something to do with lack of responses we have received.

Can anyone provide some “Merit Based” Aviation Scholarships that look at the student for his accomplishments, and not need based. Just would like to see him fill out good quality Scholarships that look at the student and his accomplishments.

Thanks for any feedback,

Matt M


There are no aviation scholarships that I am aware of. I wish there were, but they just don’t seem to be out there. Your son will probably need to do what most of us did and take out loans.


Thanks Chris, Trying to hold off as long as we can, but the 529 we thought would be enough for a “normal” education will be wiped out late his Sophomore year. Appreciate the feedback and welcome anyone who had any scholarship success.


I would point out that you and your son have chosen one of the most expensive paths possible to becoming a pilot. Aviation colleges are notorious for being much more expensive than regular flight schools. The majority of pilots complete a four year degree in some other than aviation and then go to a flight school to get their ratings. This is usually much less expensive and provides the exact same FAA qualifications while also providing an education in something other than aviation, which can serve as a backup.


I hear you loud and clear Chris, and your preaching to the choir. He could have went that route, played Football and went to School for almost nothing. Problem is his only passion is Aviation.

There is something to be said about walking out of your dorm for the next four years and having the ability to fly on a consistent basis, however it comes with a heavy price tag.



Just remember that it is a heavy price tag that you are paying, not him.


Just to chime in here and I apologize for being harsh, but is your son’s goal to be a pilot or to be able to walk out of his dorm and fly? It sounds like you’re struggling to make this work when there are clearly more fiscally responsible routes. One of the reasons there are no Aviation Scholarships is because the price tag is too high AND they know the goal can be achieved for a fraction of the price. There’s something to be said for many nice expensive things BUT if they’re unsustainable and keep you from your goals maybe they’re not so nice.