Flight training is typically an expensive undertaking, so what flight school financial aid options are available for prospective students and what are their requirements?
Mary Ann O’Grady
Southern Utah University in collaboration with Upper Limit Aviation presents prospective aviation students with multiple flight school financial aid options through the university since the aviation department is part of the School of Business as SUU. The School of Business offers two degrees, including an Aviation Associate of Applied Science Degree (two year program) and a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Degree (four year program). SUU also just recently added an online option for their AAS degree. The AAS degree prepares students to embark upon a career as a commercial airplane pilot or as a helicopter pilot which have broad employment possibilities anywhere in the world. The BIS allows students to develop and customize their program of study according to their unique interests that are interdisciplinary in nature. In turn, this allows students to meet their career goals by combining courses while pursuing two emphases from a variety of disciplines. This provides SUU graduates with a distinct advantage in an ever-changing job market and/or the capability of actually creating a unique niche for themselves.
The Financial Aid Department at SUU offers students several different types of options to assist them in researching the cost of attending the university as well as identifying the best option(s) for meeting that cost. The FAD assists students with completing the Federal Financial Aid application (FAFSA), which allows students to be considered for all three of the following: grants, work study programs, and loans. To be eligible to receive a Federal Loan (Direct Stafford, Perkins, and PLUS), students must be enrolled at least half-time, which is six credits for undergraduates students and five credits for graduate students. They must also be enrolled in a degree-seeking program. Federal Pell Grants (FSEOG or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, HESSP or Higher Education Success Stipend Grants) are awarded based upon the need of the student, and repayment is not required unless a student withdraws from his or her classes before the end of the semester. Grants are available only for undergraduate students who qualify for federal financial aid. In contrast, work study is money that a student earns throughout a semester by being employed on campus with an approved employer after eligibility has been determined by the U.S. Department of Education through FAFSA. The student receives a paycheck for the hours worked which can be used to pay tuition, fees, books, living expenses, etc., and is available for undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled full-time (twelve credits for undergrads and nine credits for graduate students).
Student loans can be a short-term answer to meeting financial academic obligations but may result in becoming a long-term problem which makes planning carefully and borrowing wisely a prime directive. SUU offers an online tool, Net Price Calculator that allows students anonymously to estimate the cost of attending the university as well as Payment Plans that are available through the Cashier’s Office once eligibility has been determined. This estimate of out-of-pocket expenses is predicated on the information entered by the student so it is imperative that this data be accurate to calculate the amount that he or she is eligible to receive from SUU. All payment plans (fall 4-pay installments, fall 3-pay installments, spring 4-pay installments, or spring 3-pay installments) are set-up as an automatic deduction from the payment method kept on file. Scholarships provide a source of financing that requires no payback but filing deadlines and acceptance must be followed precisely.
Typically, scholarships offered through a university are categorized according to several criteria, such as demographics and level of education, and are offered by individuals, associations and organizations. SUU’s online listing of scholarships includes the following categories:
The International Student Scholarships are sub-divided into three typologies: International Founders’ Scholarships, International Dead’s Scholarships, and International Centurium Scholarships which range from $3,000.00 to $8,500.00 per year for four years. Although scholarships may be considered to be a financial “gift,” a series of steps by the student must be followed to guarantee their successful awarding. These include applying for the scholarship, formally accepting the offered scholarship, and transferring In-State Academic Scholarships or Out-of-State Academic Scholarships or deferring an academic scholarship in cases where a student has been approved for a leave of absence by the University. Students also have the option of appealing an institutional scholarship decision which provides them with an opportunity to address extenuating circumstances that contributed to missing an application deadline or a failure to meet GPA requirements. However, the appeal process cannot be utilized for general scholarships or scholarship housing. Any student other than a non-immigrant who meets the criteria listed on the HB144 Waiver Request which is also known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), can be exempted from paying the non-resident charge of SUU’s total tuition as per House Bill 144.
The scholarship committee typically considers a number of factors when awarding a scholarship which includes, but is not limited to the following criteria:
For example, SUU’s International Student Scholarships cannot be combined with other substantial SUU tuition scholarships which necessitates that the scholarship applicant research how SUU qualifies another substantial scholarship award. In this case, a minimum 3.0 GPA is required to maintain the four-year scholarship award, and priority consideration is given to applicants that apply by March 1st for the fall semester and by October 1st for the spring semester. This does not require a separate application as all applicants are automatically considered. In addition, SUU offers pre-authorized scholarships whereby students who submit their application form, application fee, a copy of their passport, and a copy of their official transcripts will result in a pre-authorized scholarship being generated which can be factored into the students’ financial statement.
SUU offers students the opportunity to receive email alerts regarding new scholarship offers as they become available by signing up at the Scholarship Alert listserve. There are several non-university websites that also offer consistently updated information pertaining to available scholarships where scholarship seekers can tailor their search specifically to their demographics, interests, academic major, organization affiliation, career choice, etc. Perhaps the most important caveat for researching and applying for scholarships is to pay particular attention to the requirements and filing instructions to avoid wasting time and effort on a scholarship that is not suitable while missing the opportunity to apply for a scholarship that is. Good luck in your efforts to find flight school financial aid!