The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) announced it will award 100 scholarships of $10,000 each to 80 exceptional aviation-minded high school students age 15 to 18, and to 20 teachers dedicated to advancing aviation education in their classrooms.

The application deadline for the 2019 You Can Fly High School Flight Training Scholarships is April 2, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. The scholarships are made possible by a $1 million grant from the Ray Foundation to the AOPA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Scholarship recipients can use their awarded funds to pay direct flight training expenses toward a primary pilot certificate. To be eligible, students and teachers must be AOPA members. Student scholarship recipients must complete a flight training milestone – achieving either their first solo or earning a primary pilot certificate – within one year of receiving a scholarship. (Review the eligibility requirements.) Teachers who apply for a scholarship must be full-time employees of a school or school system working to prepare students for a future in aviation. (See the complete teacher eligibility requirements.) Winners will be announced by the end of May.

The $1 million in scholarship funding from the Ray Foundation is a tenfold increase over the $100,000 in high school scholarships awarded in 2018. The Ray Foundation noted that the increase in scholarship funding, together with a $2 million matching grant, recognizes the outstanding performance of the You Can Fly program and encourages other pilots to offer their support by doubling the impact of their donations.

The Ray Foundation honors the memory of founder James C. Ray (1923–2017), a pilot, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. “James believed that learning to fly developed his self-discipline and drive, traits that served him well in business and in life. He was incredibly generous in offering that same opportunity to others and the Ray Foundation’s support of the You Can Fly program continues his legacy,” said Jennifer Storm, vice president of the AOPA Foundation.

You Can Fly is AOPA’s multi-pronged program to get pilots flying and keep them flying, and to build a larger, more vibrant general aviation community. A flight training scholarship can be life-changing for a recipient who has dreamed of becoming a pilot but considered such a goal unattainable.

In addition to the scholarships for high school students and teachers, other AOPA members may apply for awards ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 for primary flight training or advanced certificates and ratings.

For more information and to apply, please visit the AOPA Scholarship Program website.