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Mon, May 20, 2024

EAA’s Ray Aviation Scholarship Program Hits 500 Recipients

Flight Training Milestone Achieved for Association’s Most Flexible Assistance

The EAA Ray Aviation Scholarship program has seen its 500th student pilot graduate helped along the way, marking off a significant milestone for the group's most widely useful scholarship.

The Ray Scholarship is funded by the Ray Foundation, but managed by the EAA. That allows it to source candidates through its network of EAA chapters, each with their own culture and community. That's a fine way to find those who have a passion for flight, but may not be able to swing the expensive costs of training on their own. Through their chapter, suitable youths can see up to $11,000 in assistance to cover their flight training expenses. This year the Ray Foundation has disbursed $1.8 million just for scholarships alone.

The Ray Scholarship is pretty, young, too, being introduced in 2019. Since being started, it's handed out 880 scholarships to young folks, seeing a certificate attainment rate of about 81 percent to account for those 500 certificated pilots. Today, there are 270 more scholarship recipients in the training pipeline, so that percentage may still climb a bit.

“Many aspiring pilots fall short of their goal due to the cost of flight training, so EAA working with the Ray Foundation helps relieve some of the financial pressure and make the goal of becoming a pilot even more accessible for future generations,” says Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programming. “The high completion rate of our scholars demonstrates the impact of a supportive environment provided by EAA chapters.”

Scholarships are given out throughout the EAA's chapter system. In order to nominate their own recipients, chapters must be approved for the program, which allows them to nominate a chosen scholar for final review by EAA HQ. Most chapters end up seeing the full $11,000 for their chosen student, but it's not uncommon for them to grease the wheels by committing a substantial fraction of the award in order to secure their spot in the program.

FMI: www.EAA.org/RayScholarship

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