The immediate and widespread success of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Ray Aviation Scholarship program in 2019 has allowed the program to be expanded for 2020, giving more opportunities for young aviators to receive full flight training scholarships through EAA’s chapter network.
Support from the Ray Foundation will be expanded 20 percent in 2020, to $1.2 million. This added support comes after 96 scholarships were awarded through EAA chapters in 2019, leading to 20 young people earning private pilot certificates and an additional 55 making their initial solo flight in the program’s first seven months.
“The Ray Aviation Scholarship program has, in its first year, raised our flight training success rate from the current 20 percent community-wide to 90 percent by working with our EAA chapters to ensure the necessary support for our scholarship recipients,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA’s CEO and chairman of the board. “The enthusiasm shown by our chapters and the dedication by the scholarship recipients has made us even more optimistic for the future. We are very appreciative to the Ray Foundation for viewing this success as a springboard to even more possibilities.”
The Ray Foundation provided $1 million to EAA to fund Ray Aviation Scholarships for up to 100 young people during 2019. The program is managed by EAA and administered through its chapter network. EAA chapters are responsible for identifying youths for the Ray Aviation Scholarship program and mentoring them through flight training.
The additional $200,000 of new funding in 2020 will be available to chapters that successfully mentored a scholarship recipient in 2019. These chapters will be guaranteed $5,000 in funding for a 2020 scholar if they commit $5,000 in matching funds. In addition, these chapters already established in the program may nominate potential scholars beginning on January 1, 2020, two months earlier than those participating in the core fund.
“The added support will allow EAA to enroll more qualified chapters into the Ray Aviation Scholarship program in 2020, without taking away slots from chapters that participated in 2019,” Pelton said. “The matching component will also allow successful 2019 chapters to guarantee their future slot while opening up additional slots in the core fund.”
More information is available at EAA.org/RayScholars. In addition, EAA chapters are invited to participate in a “Ray Aviation Scholarship – 2020 and Beyond” webinar on November 12 to learn more details.