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Ray Scholarship Chapter Applications Open Soon

Christopher Gauger, EAA 746128, EAA Chapter Field Representative I


October 2022

It’s almost the time of the year for EAA chapters to apply for a Ray Aviation Scholarship. Starting on November 1, 2022, the chapter application period will open for the 2023 Ray Aviation Scholarship. All EAA chapters and divisional chapters are eligible to apply for one of these flight training scholarships to help a young person learn to fly.

The Ray Foundation will provide $1.55 million to EAA for the Ray Aviation Scholarship in 2023. This funding will consist of:

  • $1.2 million for full ($10,000) scholarships
  • $200,000 for 50/50 scholarships
  • $150,000 for program administration, fulfillment, and overhead costs

In addition to the money provided by the scholarship, chapters also provide the mentorship and support that is crucial to helping a scholar complete flight training and attain their pilot certificate.

Chapters that have never participated in the Ray Aviation Scholarship before are welcome to apply. This is an excellent opportunity for your chapter to help a young person become a pilot. Perhaps your chapter has some Young Eagles who have decided to pursue flight training, or who participated in another youth program at the chapter or are involved in an aircraft build or restoration project. This is your chance to help make the dream of one of these young aviators become reality.

Chapters that currently have a Ray scholar in training, or which have a successfully completed Ray scholar, are also welcome to apply to receive a scholarship next year. Your chapter is encouraged to continue its success at creating new pilots through this program. The deadline for chapters to apply for a full 2023 Ray Aviation Scholarship will be January 31, 2023.

Chapters applying for the 50/50 matching scholarships have a deadline of December 31, 2022. The 50/50 matching scholarships are available for any EAA chapter with at least one successfully completed Ray scholar. The chapter provides half of the scholarship funds, and the Ray Foundation matches by providing the other half. This opportunity guarantees a chapter automatic participation in the program for the year in which the chapter applied. A chapter applying for a 50/50 scholarship can also choose to support up to two 50/50 scholars in the same year.

Due to the importance of mentoring and support, chapters interested in administering a Ray Aviation Scholarship are required to apply on an annual basis. When selecting the chapters to receive a scholarship, the following criteria are taken into consideration:

  • Overall chapter health and activity, as determined by its Chapter Recognition score.
  • Youth activities the chapter engages in. This includes (but is not limited to) the Young Eagles Workshops, Young Eagles Build and Fly, and chapter-led aircraft build or restoration projects for youth.
  • Chapter experience administering a scholarship.
  • Availability of potential scholars.

Each chapter application is reviewed by our Ray Aviation Scholarship Chapter Review Committee, which consists of EAA chapter leaders who volunteer to read each application, score them on their strengths, and provide feedback to the EAA chapters staff. Application reviews will occur in February 2023, and chapters will be notified of their award status in the second half of that month.

Once approved by EAA, a chapter may nominate its Ray scholar and have them submit their scholar application to EAA for final approval. Scholars in 2023 will have until October 31, 2023 to submit their application. EAA reviews the scholar applications at the start of each month and notifies the chapters of their scholar’s approval.

It is important for chapters to submit a strong and well-written application for this program. Past scholar successes are taken into consideration when awarding chapters, but they are not the only consideration. In addition to the aforementioned criteria, a chapter should take its application seriously and make a clear case for why it should receive a scholarship. This is an opportunity to receive up to $10,000 to help create a new pilot. It is a big responsibility, since your chapter will be directly assisting a young student pilot. But the rewards of this scholarship, both for the scholar and for your chapter, make it all worthwhile.

The EAA Ray Aviation Scholarship has been a success since its launch in 2019, with a completion rate of 80 percent or more for the young folks who get their pilot certificates through this program. The success of this program is thanks to the many EAA chapters that devote the time and effort to help young aviators become pilots. These chapters are not only creating new pilots, but are also helping these youths and young adults learn valuable life skills along the way. If your chapter has not yet participated in the Ray Aviation Scholarship, then now is a good time to start.

If you have any questions about this program, please let us know at rayscholars@eaa.org. To learn more about the program, visit EAA.org/RayScholars.

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