FedEx Express has selected Indiana State University as a participant in its Purple Runway Aviation Scholarship program. The university will receive $500,000 over the next five years to provide scholarships for aspiring pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians and other aviation professionals.
ISU says the first round of scholarships will be awarded in the fall of 2019. The university’s professional aviation flight technology major currently has more than 200 students enrolled.
"FedEx’s generous support will help us train more pilots, who are desperately needed in the workforce," said Nesli Alp, dean of the ISU College of Technology. "It is crucial for our students to continue their education and complete it with less or no debt. We are delighted to partner with FedEx on this important initiative and look forward to collaborating with them to support our students and faculty."
Stephen McCaskey, interim chair of the aviation technology department at ISU, says the funding will result in more pilots being certified, which will help address the global pilot shortage crisis. He says professional aviation students incur additional costs for their education because of required flight fees.
He adds the scholarship will also provide an immediate impact on the certification of future flight instructors.
"This scholarship opportunity will have huge impact on our students’ success by allowing them to advance to the certified flight instructor, instrument flight instructor and multi-engine flight instructor rating without delay of waiting on the funding from private sources or by their own means," McCaskey said. "Most of our students have financially exhausted the funding for their certificates required for the PAFT major and do not have the flight fees needed to advance as an instructor."
The other institutions selected for the program include the University of Memphis, Delta State University, University of North Dakota, Tennessee College of Applied Technology and Arkansas State University Mid-South.