If you've ever daydreamed about designing aircraft structures or sitting at the helm of the cockpit, then aeronautics scholarships can be a great way to transform your dreams into an actual career. Aeronautics degree programs are designed to help students take their future to new heights within the in-demand aviation and aerospace industries. Students with an aeronautics major often wish to enter careers in aviation safety, air traffic control, aeronautical or aerospace engineering, piloting, aircraft maintenance, and other exciting areas. In order to help you take off on your educational endeavors and land in a rewarding career, below we've highlighted 20 of the best scholarships available to undergraduate or graduate aeronautics students.
1. AAAE Foundation Native American Scholarship
Deadline: March 31st
Through the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Foundation, the Native American Scholarship is granted annually for $1,000 to Native American or Alaskan Native college students who are currently enrolled in an aviation or aeronautics degree program at an accredited U.S. institution. Eligible applicants must have at least junior class standing, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and be committed to a career in aviation management. Applications must include a recent transcript, at least one recommendation letter, financial need information, and a one-page typed personal statement stating academic goals in aeronautics.
AAAE Foundation Native American Scholarship
P.O. Box 2810
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
2. Amelia Earhart Graduate Fellowship
Deadline: November 15th
Founded in 1938 in honor of the famed pilot and Zontian, the Amelia Earhart Graduate Fellowship is awarded each year by Zonta International Foundation to provide $10,000 to outstanding female students who are pursuing a Ph.D. degree in aeronautics, aviation, or aerospace engineering. Qualified applicants must be enrolled full-time in an approved doctoral program, demonstrate a superior academic record, and be actively involved in research related to aeronautics. Candidates are asked to submit official college transcripts, an employment history, at least two letters of reference, proof of enrollment, and a personal essay.
3. Ann Wood-Kelly Scholarship
Deadline: March 30th
In honor of a noted World War II aviatrix who served with the British Air Transport Auxiliary and later became the first female VP of Pan American Airways, the Ann Wood-Kelly Scholarship is given each year for $2,000 by the Aero Club of New England (ACONE). Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens, reside within New England, be at least 16 years old, exhibit financial need, have exceptional scholastic ability, hold a current Airman Certificate, and intend to pursue a professional career in the aviation field. Applicants must submit a signed application, school transcripts, proof of citizenship, two recommendations, and a flight time record.
4. Charles H. Grant Scholarship Program
Deadline: April 30th
Sponsored by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the Charles H. Grant Scholarship Program is designed to award up to $5,000 to academically talented graduating high school seniors who have actively participated in the aeromodeling field and wish to start a career in aeronautics. To qualify, candidates must be graduating from high school this year, have been AMA members for at least 36 consecutive months, be accepted at an accredited U.S. college, and be committed to community service involvement. Applications must write a short personal essay describing the models they've built and flown as well as any contests they've won.
5. Delta Air Lines Engineering Scholarship
Deadline: November 17th
In the amount of $5,000, the Delta Air Lines Engineering Scholarship is presented annually by Women in Aviation International (WAI) to outstanding female college students who are earning a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering, aeronautical engineering, mechanical engineering, or another related engineering field. Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, be enrolled full-time at an accredited U.S. institution, have junior or senior standing, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and be inspired for a career in aeronautics. In addition, recipients will receive an all-expense paid trip to attend the Annual WAI Conference.
6. Edward W. Stimpson Aviation Excellence Award
Deadline: April 17th
Administered through the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the Edward W. Stimpson Aviation Excellence Award is distributed each year for $2,000 to graduating high school seniors who have been accepted and will be enrolled full-time in an aviation or aeronautics program at any U.S. university this fall. Along with the completed application form, students must submit an official transcript showing a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, two recommendation letters, a list of their extra-curricular activities, and a 750-word essay explaining what aeronautics means to them.
7. Ellis F. Hitt Digital Avionics Scholarship
Deadline: January 31st
Each year, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) offers the Ellis F. Hitt Digital Avionics Scholarship for $1,500 to college students currently enrolled full-time in an accredited university in the United States to earn a degree in aeronautics, astronautics, aerospace engineering, aviation, or a related field. Eligible applicants must be AIAA members in good standing, have completed at least one college semester, possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3, and have unmet financial need. Applications must be accompanied by three letters of reference, official college transcripts, and a maximum 1,000-word career goal essay.
8. Frank Der Yuen Aviation Scholarship
Deadline: June 15th
In honor of an aeronautical engineer who oversaw the original construction of the Honolulu International Airport, the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor on Ford Island is proud to deliver the Frank Der Yuen Aviation Scholarship each year for $1,000. Qualified candidates must be Hawaii residents who have been accepted or are currently enrolled in an aviation or aeronautics program at an accredited college or vocational school. Interested students should complete the written application, prepare a two-page essay describing their hopes in aviation, provide verification of enrollment, and submit two recommendation letters.
9. General James H. Doolittle Scholarship Fund
Deadline: May 25th
In collaboration with the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders has created the General James H. Doolittle Scholarship Fund to award $5,000 annually to students who are pursuing a bachelor's or master's degree in aeronautical engineering or aerospace science. Qualified individuals must have completed at least 52 college credits, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.75, have U.S. citizenship or legal residency, be in need of financial support, and attend an accredited U.S. institution. Along with the application, candidates should attach two letters of recommendation, an academic transcript, and a scholarly paper showing their passion for aeronautics.
10. Gogo Business Aviation Scholarship
Deadline: April 1st
Since 2012, the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) Foundation offers the Gogo Business Aviation Scholarship to award $2,500 to graduating high school seniors and/or college students who are attending an accredited school in an aviation, avionics, aeronautics, or aircraft repair program to pursue a career in the aircraft maintenance industry. Eligible students are asked to complete a signed application, attach a recent transcript, describe their aviation career goals, and write a 300-word typed essay on what the term "NextGen" means. Recipients must agree to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 while using the funding to pay for tuition or tools.
11. John Leland Atwood Graduate Award
Deadline: January 31st
Also funded by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the John Leland Atwood Graduate Award is presented annually for $1,000 to outstanding graduate students who are currently enrolled in an accredited aeronautics or astronautics-related program in the United States. To quality, applicants must have completed at least one full-time semester of graduate studies, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.3, and have AIAA membership with good standing. Applications must include official graduate transcripts, a maximum 20-page aeronautical research plan, three recommendation letters, and a 1,000-word career goals essay.
12. Judith Resnik Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, and December 31st
Four times each year, the Judith Resnik Memorial Scholarship is granted by the American Flyers to young men and women who are advancing their training in the aviation profession by completing 120 hours of academy classroom instruction and 10 hours of dual flight training. All applicants must be U.S. citizens, hold a Private License and Commercial License, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, show good communication skills, and express a sincere desire to advance their career in aviation. Applications must include a 300-word personal essay, a single-page outline of educational goals, three letters of recommendation, and license copies.
13. Lawrence C. Fortier Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
Through the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA), the Lawrence C. Fortier Memorial Scholarship is distributed for up to $5,000 each year to multiple students enrolled half-time to full-time in a program leading to a bachelor's degree or higher in a field related to aeronautics. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents, attend an FAA-approved institution, be pursuing a career in aviation, and have at least 30 semester hours still to be completed. For consideration, applications must include official college transcripts, answers to two leadership questions, one 500-word personal essay, and two letters of recommendation.
14. Michael Blume Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: February 28th
As part of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the Michael Blume Memorial Scholarship is granted for $1,000 each year in honor of a devoted air traffic controller with the FFA for over 24 years and pilot who logged nearly 10,000 flight hours before passing away in 2014. Qualified applicants must be currently enrolled in an aviation-related degree program, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or above, submit two letters of recommendation, and write a one-page typed essay outlining their career plans within the aviation industry. Preference will be given to students with permanent residence in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
15. NASA Aeronautics Scholarship Program
Deadline: March 31st
Annually, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) offers the Aeronautics Scholarship Program to deliver $11,000 in tuition assistance with a $35,000 stipend over two years to promising undergraduate and graduate students who have a declared STEM major with career interests in aeronautics. Qualified candidates must be pursuing an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in areas related to aeronautics at an accredited U.S. university. In exchange, recipients will complete a 10-week summer internship at an Aeronautics NASA center conducting research on issues critically important to the aeronautics community.
16. National Gay Pilots Association Scholarships
Deadline: April 15th
Within the National Gay Pilots Association Education Fund (NGPA-EF), there are several scholarships offered each year for up to $6,000 apiece to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students who have a desire to develop professional aviation skills for a bright career in aeronautics. Eligible applicants must be at least 18 years old, have earned a private pilot certificate, be pursuing an aviation or aeronautics program at an accredited college, and be actively involved the LGBT community. Recipients will be chosen based on their academic record, motivation, teamwork, leadership ability, attitude, history of achievement, volunteer work experience, and aviation accomplishments.
17. Paul A. Whelan Aviation Scholarship
Deadline: May 15th
Funded by the University Aviation Association (UAA), the Paul A. Whelan Aviation Scholarship is awarded annually for $2,000 to young men and women who are enrolling full-time at a UAA-member institution with a major related to aviation, aeronautics, or aerospace sciences. Eligible students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, have achieved at least sophomore-level standing, demonstrate a love for aviation, show leadership abilities in community involvement, and possess a minimum major GPA of 3.0. Preference will be given to any former or current military service members who have served in the Air Force or Air National Guard.
18. Pioneers of Flight Scholarship Awards
Deadline: December 26th
Since 1989, the Pioneers of Flight Scholarship Awards have been granted by the National Air Transportation Foundation (NATF) to provide $1,000 to full-time undergraduate students who are enrolled in an aviation or aeronautics degree program. Qualified candidates must be in their sophomore or junior year, attend an accredited four-year university in the United States, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and demonstrate a strong interest in a career in general aviation. Applications must be submitted with an official transcript, one letter of recommendation, and a personal essay indicating career goals by the last Friday in December.
19. Taking it to the Sky Scholarship
Deadline: December 1st
Newly created for 2015, the Taking it to the Sky Scholarship is offered by the Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance (AWAM) to award $500 to two female college students who are pursuing a degree in aviation, aviation maintenance, aeronautics, or another aero-related field full-time. Qualified applicants must have experience working in aviation maintenance, attend an accredited U.S. institution, maintain good academic standing, have financial need, and write a 200-word personal statement describing their future career plans. Recipients will also be given an all-expense paid trip to attend the Women in Aviation Conference.
20. Thomas E. Pitzer Aviation Maintenance Scholarship
Deadline: February 28th
At the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, the Thomas E. Pitzer Aviation Maintenance Scholarship was founded to award $1,000 to worthy students who are pursuing an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in aviation or aeronautics with FFA A&P Certification. Eligible applicants must be graduating from a public high school in Oregon, carry a minimum high school GPA of 3.0, have U.S. citizenship, plan to attend an FFA-approved school within Oregon, and showcase a need for financial assistance. Recipients are required to sign a commitment that they will work at least three years in the aviation maintenance industry.
Earning a degree in aeronautics often leads to a great ROI with a high-paying annual salary potential of $105,450 for aerospace engineers, $129,600 for airline pilot, or $118,650 for air traffic controllers. However, you'll still need to afford anywhere from two to six years of post-secondary schooling to reach for the stars in aeronautics. If you need extra funding, apply for some of these aeronautics scholarships and let your career soar towards the sky!