Southern Utah University (SUU) Fueling the Future Scholarship Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does this scholarship work? What does this scholarship cover?

This scholarship provides $20,000 towards the SUU Aviation commercial/instrument flight lab. It is for one semester and can be used for any of the following flight labs:

2205: RW Cross Country Lab, aircraft: Robinson Cadet
2245: RW Commercial Cert Lab, aircraft: Robinson Cadet
2215: Instrument Commercial RW Lab A, aircraft: Robinson Cadet
2275: Instrument Commercial RW Lab B, aircraft: Robinson Cadet
1315: RW Instrument Cert Lab, aircraft: Robinson R44

Funds will be credited to your student account at the beginning of the semester in which you are enrolled in that lab. Flight labs are offered during the fall, winter, and summer semesters, so you can enter the program at any of those times.

Scholarship recipients will also receive airfare, a shared hotel room, and tickets to the 2019 HAI
HELI-EXPO, an annual global helicopter conference where they will make connections with
other women helicopter pilots and members of the aviation industry.

2. Who can apply for this scholarship?

This scholarship is open exclusively to all female Whirly-Girls members, including associate members. This scholarship is provided to help remove financial barriers to entry for new student pilots. Since we believe that every woman needs to show a commitment to her flight training before applying for a scholarship, we do require applicants to have soloed in a helicopter by October 15th in order to apply.

Completion of the private pilot certificate for rotorcraft will be required before you can use the scholarship. Private helicopter training can be completed at SUU or another flight school.

This scholarship is not for everyone though. Since training takes place at SUU in Cedar City, Utah, you must be on location and have a commitment to earning your degree (Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s). If you cannot move to Cedar City, then this scholarship is not for you. If you do not want to earn a degree, then this scholarship is not for you. If you do have the flexibility to live in another city, and you want to further your education and expand your resume and education, then this is an amazing opportunity.

3. I already have a private pilot’s certificate. Am I still eligible?

Yes. All the work you have done for your private certificate will be credited by SUU towards your degree.

4. I already have a degree. Can I still go to this school?

Yes. SUU provides Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees, so there is a degree level available for everyone.

If you already have an Associate’s degree, you can work on your Bachelor’s. If you already have a Bachelor’s degree, you can work on your Master’s. If you already have a Master’s, then another Master’s in a different field will help strengthen your resume and set you apart during the hiring process.

5. I’m a non-traditional student. Can I still take advantage of the SUU program? How do I apply?

Yes. SUU has lots of experience with working with non-traditional students, particularly military veterans. Sometimes work experience or other training can be credited towards a degree. Contact Robbie Paul (Assistant Chief Pilot and Head of Marketing/Student Services) at 435-586-8789 for more information about the requirements to apply as a non-traditional student, and he will be more than happy to help you.

6. Do I have to sign up as an SUU student in order to use these scholarship funds?

Yes. You will need to apply to SUU as a student in order to enroll in the flight training program. The aviation department accepts applications year round and can even expedite an application if it is needed. If you are awarded this scholarship in December and want to become a student in time to start classes in the spring semester in January, they can help you.

7. What degrees are available?

You can earn your Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s Degree, or Master’s degree at SUU.

8. What is the total cost of obtaining my degree and ratings at SUU?

The total cost will be around $125,000, not including the SUU scholarship. This includes your ratings from private through CFII and a university degree. It does not include room and board. If you already have your private certificate when you enroll, the cost will be lower. Thankfully, since this is a university, you can apply for federal student aid to help finance your education; you cannot take advantage of federal student loans at a flight school that is not affiliated with a college or university. If you are a veteran, you may also apply for VA funding.

SUU has a strict extension policy; their operational plan is designed to get you through your lab during the semester you are enrolled. This means you don’t have to worry about paying for extra flight hours because aircraft are down, checkrides aren’t scheduled, or you just end up with an instructor who doesn’t help you progress. It also means you are responsible for keeping on schedule. This policy will keep your costs from rising. Also, because SUU is a university, education is at the forefront. An unlimited amount of individual ground training during each course is available at no additional cost to the student.

If you are then hired as a flight instructor by SUU, you will become a university employee with medical benefits, free tuition, and a salary. It’s really the best gig for helicopter instructors in the industry. As an employee, you can continue your education and obtain a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree for free while teaching, or just teach and build your hours for the next opportunity.

Please remember this cost is an estimate and can be affected by your class choices, proficiency in flight, and other factors.

9. Is there additional financial aid? Will I still be eligible for it?

Yes. You must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form online in order to apply for federal student aid. This will require your income tax information. Aid usually comes in the form of low-interest, federal student loans, but some students will qualify for federal grants.

As a college student, you will also be eligible to apply for other college scholarships. Search the internet for more information, and apply to every single one for which you are eligible. This can dramatically decrease your costs.

10. Does SUU provide housing?

SUU does have dorms, but they recommend pilots stay at their “aviation houses.” These houses are homes whose owners rent out their rooms to aviation students and instructors. This creates an environment of collaboration and camaraderie without decreasing your ability to succeed.

If you have a spouse or family, apartments and rental homes are also available throughout Cedar City, and the SUU aviation department is happy to point you to resources to find those properties.

Of course, you are welcome to live in the dorms if you choose.

11. How long do I have to use the scholarship?

You have until the end of 2020 (two years) to enter the commercial/instrument flight lab.

12. When can I start flying?

If you contact SUU as soon as you receive the notice that you have been accepted as a scholarship recipient, they can help you enroll for the spring semester starting in January 2019.

If you need a little longer to prepare, you can enter the program in any of the following semesters.

13. If I am chosen as the recipient of the scholarship, how do I apply for SUU?

You can apply at If you are planning to enroll for the spring 2019 semester, contact SUU Aviation’s Robbie Paul at 435-586-8789 so he can lead you through the abbreviated process.

14. Who can I talk to for more information about Southern Utah University and this scholarship?

For more information about SUU or the logistics of applying this scholarship towards your education, contact or Robbie Paul (Assistant Chief Pilot and Head of Marketing/Student Services) at 435-586-8789.

For information about applying for the scholarship, please contact Alison Martin, Whirly-Girls VP of Scholarships, at

15. Why would I even want a degree?

Having a degree sets you apart from other job applicants. It will give you an edge during the hiring process and tells employers that you are able to make a long-term commitment to a goal. And some positions in the aviation industry require a degree.

A degree is also useful outside of the helicopter industry. If you lose your medical certificate for any reason or have trouble moving up in your flying career, having a degree will make finding a job outside of aviation a little less stressful.

16. Why would I choose SUU over another flight school?

SUU has developed a program that is committed to safety and student progress. In addition, they are located at an altitude of 5,622 feet so you will learn to fly at high altitude and in high density altitude conditions. This creates skilled pilots who are familiar with operating the aircraft near its limitations. Companies notice when your flight hours are accrued at high altitude, and some jobs even require it. After flying all your hours at altitude, flying near sea level may seem easy.

SUU also has enough aircraft and instructors so their students finish their ratings in the semester in which they are assigned. This increases morale and keeps costs down. Instructors are university employees and receive a fair salary, medical benefits, and free tuition. They can fly anywhere from 50 to 100 hours a month.

Students may also participate in Search and Locate missions. All of the check instructors, assistant chiefs, and chiefs are deputized with the Iron County Sheriff’s Department, so if the need arises and the mission turns into a Search and Rescue mission, the training stops and the student can witness first hand how these types of operations are conducted. There are elective classes in long-line operations, night vision goggles, mountain flying, and turbine transitions. There are also opportunities in development for overseas instructor postings and low-time pathways to higher-tier industry careers.

17. If I am the recipient, how can I fulfill my required volunteer commitment?

There are many ways to fulfill your commitment. One possibility is acting as a liaison at SUU for other female university students and local women who fly helicopters.

18. Does this scholarship partnership mean that the Whirly-Girls is now endorsing SUU as a preferred flight school?

No. The Whirly-Girls organization does not endorse companies or schools. While Whirly-Girls (including Board Members) may give recommendations, they do so only as individuals, and their personal endorsements do not signify an endorsement by Whirly-Girls International. Like all of our wonderful scholarship sponsors, SUU is providing this opportunity to our members to help increase diversity in the aviation industry and remove a barrier to entry for some women.