Stay Inspired

EAA is your guide to getting the most out of the world of flight and giving your passion room to grow.

PenFed Offers New $10,000 Youth Flying Scholarship

Barbara A. Schmitz


July, 2023 — PenFed Credit Union officials announced Wednesday that the company will give out a $10,000 annual scholarship to one youth who aspires to become a pilot but doesn’t have the financial means to do so.

PenFed’s senior vice president/CMO Gaurav Bhatia said the company, which started in 1935, has been energized by EAA and its members, and they decided to “help nurture the next generation to pursue their pilot’s license.”

Bhatia said the company is always thinking of what they can do for their members. “We saw the need for this type of scholarship,” he said, adding that the $10,000 award should be a significant help in paying for the cost of earning a private pilot certificate.

“A lot of people come to us and say they love flying, but that taking flight lessons is a financial burden to them,” he said. The scholarship is just a first step to help them achieve their dreams. Youths under 18 can apply for the flight-training scholarship starting in November at You do not need to be a member of PenFed to apply, and applicants will be judged on both financial need and merit. Samantha Weiss, senior manager of brand marketing, said: “We don’t want to have strict guidelines on who can qualify for the scholarship. We want people to feel eligible and empowered to apply.”

All information about the scholarship will be distributed through the Young Eagles network, and PenFed will be involved in selecting the scholarship recipient, Weiss said.

“We’re happy to give back to the community and help make dreams come true,” she said. “PenFed feels a strong corporate responsibility to give back to the community.”

While the winners will not be required to report back on their training progress, Weiss hopes the youths will keep the company informed about their achievements. “We want to build a community and network, and we think this is a wonderful first step.”

The second largest credit union in the United States with 2.9 million members, PenFed is a Gold Sponsor of EAA this year, and is sponsoring the Saturday night air show and fireworks, as well as other events. It is located in Booth 270 between Hangar A and Hangar C.

To provide a better user experience, EAA uses cookies. To review EAA's data privacy policy or adjust your privacy settings please visit: Data and Privacy Policy.