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Going to Trade School Instead of College? You Are Now Eligible for an AMA Scholarship Too!


Because model aviation builders and fliers come from all walks of life and all areas of interest, starting with the 2024 scholarship program, the Academy of Model Aeronautics Foundation is making AMA Scholarships available to a wider variety of students than ever before. If you are one of the millions of students opting to learn a specific skilled vocation through a trade school rather than a traditional university, you are now invited and encouraged to apply for any AMA scholarship programs for which you are eligible!

As part of its commitment to the celebration of model aviation, the AMA has always strongly believed that not only is our hobby fun and rewarding personally, but also offers an exciting path to a career in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and even the arts. To support this pathway, the AMA Foundation has distributed more than $1.3 million to date to scholarship recipients nationwide! Whatever form your journey through postsecondary education takes, the AMA wants to invest in both your future and the future of our shared passion.

Scholarship applications will be accepted starting October 16, 2023 with a final deadline of Monday, February 5, 2024.

To be eligible for any scholarship, the applicant must:

  • Have been an AMA member for 36 continuous months before the application deadline.
  • Be graduating from high school in the year in which the award is granted or be currently enrolled as a college, university, or trade-school student for the coming academic year.
  • Indicate an anticipated major or area of study and colleges, universities, or trade schools to which the applicant has applied.

Please note that to be considered, all applicants must submit their scores for SAT and/or ACT tests.

All applications are evaluated by the AMA Scholarship Committee that makes a recommendation to the AMA Education Director, and ultimately, the AMA’s Executive Council.

The Charles H. Grant Scholarship is open to graduating high school seniors each year. The number of scholarships awarded each year, and the amount each recipient is awarded, depends upon the number of applicants and their qualifications. You can read more about Charles H. Grant by visiting this page from our National Model Aviation museum biographies section.

Several important criteria are taken into consideration. To have the best chance of success, applicants should be academically superior as well as participants in many aspects of school, aeromodeling, and the community. High achievement in all the categories is of course important for the maximum amount to be awarded to an individual.


A person who is not at the top of their class academically might still win a significant scholarship award if they are active in the community, in aeromodeling, or both. Applicants’ backgrounds in their entirety are taken into consideration, and a well-rounded person might well be more qualified than one who excels only in school grades or in modeling!

Graduating high school seniors also have the option to apply for two additional scholarship opportunities. Only one applicant will be selected for each of the following scholarships:

The Ryan M. Sherrow Memorial Scholarship is based on a graduating high school senior’s overall involvement in the hobby of model aviation, including building, flying, competing, participating in club events and activities, mentoring, assisting others and general promotion of the hobby. A $500 scholarship is awarded each year.


AMA members Debbie and Clay Sherrow created this scholarship to honor the memory of their son, Ryan. A talented RC pilot and dedicated club member, Ryan was always willing to help others learn about model aviation until his sudden and tragic passing at the age of 14.

You can read more about Ryan by visiting this article from the Tucson news page.

The Cliff & Nancy Telford Scholarship award for $5,000 is given annually to the graduating senior or currently enrolled postsecondary student with the best competitive record, based on participation in the following classifications:

  • AMA National Aeromodeling Championships (Nats) – AAAAA
  • National Championships – AAAA
  • FAI Team Selection Contest
  • AMA Record Trials
  • FAI World Championships
  • FAI World Cup
  • FAI Continental Championships
  • FAI Open International and Limited International
  • FAI Record Attempt

You can learn more about Cliff and Nancy Telford by visiting this link from the National Model Aviation Museum Biographies section.

Please note that the specific events flown must have been run in strict accordance with the rules contained in the official AMA Competition Regulations or FAI Sporting Code documents. Events of a “fun-fly” nature or other rule derivatives will not be considered

Finally, the Basil & Dorothy Cooper Award is given annually to an applicant currently enrolled in a postsecondary program, whether it is a traditional university or a trade school. University students must be pursuing an engineering or technical degree at an accredited four-year institution in order to be considered. Scholarship founder Basil Cooper Jr. established this $500 scholarship in memory of his parents, Dorothy and Basil Cooper Sr.

The application process for this scholarship consists of essay questions, so be prepared to describe your involvement with aeromodeling, your community, and extracurricular activities in detail to have the best chance of success.

You can read more about Basil and Dorothy Cooper by visiting this link from the National Model Aviation Museum biographies section.

To quickly recap …

Required Information for:

Charles H. Grant Scholarship:

  • Personal information (name, address, etc.), including AMA number
  • Information about high school(s) attended
  • Information about the college, university, or trade school you expect to attend
  • School/community activities
  • Work experience
  • Aeromodeling experience
  • An Official Secondary School Report, which must be completed by a designated authority at your high school and will consist of:

    • GPA
    • Transcript
    • Standardized test score (ACT or SAT accepted)
    • Evaluation of your motivation, ability, judgment, originality, and potential

Cliff & Nancy Telford Scholarship:

  • All of the Charles H. Grant Scholarship requirements
  • Classifications, dates, and events flown as part of your competitive participation

Ryan M. Sherrow Memorial Scholarship:

  • All of the Charles H. Grant Scholarship requirements
  • One to three letters of recommendation from other modelers, club officers, AMA Leader Members, or AMA officers documenting the applicant’s involvement and contributions to the hobby

Basil & Dorothy Cooper Scholarship:

  • Personal information (name, address, etc.), including AMA number
  • Current enrollment at an accredited four-year college or university, or enrollment in an accredited trade or vocational school program
  • Pursuit of a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics degree (pertains to university students only)
  • Transcript of college coursework as of your most recently completed semester, or the vocational program equivalent
  • Substantive model aviation experience that has influenced your career goals
  • Substantive extracurricular/community experience that has influenced your academic and career goals

As always, feel free to reach out to the AMA Education team at [email protected] with any questions or concerns about your application!

Best of luck with your studies, and happy flying!