Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships

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VFF Scholarship Application Process

Each year, Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF) scholarships are awarded to college students demonstrating an interest in pursuing engineering related careers in vertical flight technology. The Foundation scholarship awards are made possible solely by tax deductible donations that have been established and contribute to an endowment.

The VFF scholarships are solely merit-based and the value of the scholarships range from $1,000 up to $6,000 (USD). The program is open to full-time students attending a university or college located anywhere in the world and regardless of a student's nationality.

The overall top ranking applicant receives the $6,000 Bell scholarship award, provided by a VFF endowment from the company. In addition, the applicant who shows the most interest and appreciation on the importance of improving vertical flight affordability will be considered for the Jing Yen Cost Awareness scholarship worth up to $6,000, generously donated by Dr. Jing Yen.

Thank you for your interest in applying for a Vertical Flight Foundation scholarship! Please read all of the guidelines before you begin your application VFF Scholarship Guidelines (PDF). Feb. 1, 2024 is the submission due date for ALL VFF scholarship documents.


To be eligible for a scholarship:

  • A student does not need to be a member of the Vertical Flight Society, but we encourage you to explore the many benefits student membership can provide.
  • High school students are not eligible.
  • All applicants must be full-time students at the time of application (February). In addition, the student must be registered in the relevant engineering degree program at least one (1) academic term after the scholarship awards, which are presented at the Society's Annual Forum in May.
  • Technical disciplines related to complex aeronautics engineering or aviation systems, even if not considered vertical lift engineering, will receive equal consideration.
  • A student can receive an award once as an Undergraduate, once as a Master's student, and once as a Graduate student.
  • In order to qualify for consideration of the Jing Yen Cost Awareness scholarship of $6000, an applicant must demonstrate a detailed interest and appreciation on the importance of affordability and how it might be improved within the vertical flight community. Affordability information should be highlighted via an applicant's narrative and resume.

Eligibility for each category is as follows:

Undergraduate / Bachelor's (BS) Degree Category

  • A college student pursuing an eligible engineering undergraduate degree.
  • The student will have at least one-term of university work towards the relevant Bachelor's program, after the awarding of scholarships at the Annual Forum, May 7-9, 2024.
  • Note:
    • A senior graduating in May of 2024 is eligible to apply for the MS category if they will be continuing immediately after graduation studies program, either MS, PhD, or MS/PhD combined graduate studies program. If the senior is not accepted into a relevant graduate program by May 2024, the student is not eligible.
    • A senior graduating with a BS degree in May 2024 is NOT eligible to apply in the BS Category.

Master of Science (MS) Degree Category

  • A masters student pursuing an eligible MS engineering degree.
  • The student will have at least one-term of university work towards their current MS program, after the awarding of scholarships at the Annual Forum, May 7-9, 2024.
  • Note: if in a combined Masters/PhD program, the student is eligible under the MS category if they have not passed qualifying exams as of the application deadline in February 2024 and do not already have an MS degree.

Doctoral (PhD) Degree Category

  • A graduate student who already has an MS engineering degree or is in a combined MS/PhD program and verification of formally meeting doctoral degree requirement such as qualifying exams.
  • The student will have at least one-term remaining in their current PhD program, after the awarding of scholarships at the Annual Forum, May 7-9, 2024.

How to Apply

Completing the Application Packet

Refer to the VFF Scholarship Application Guidelines for detailed information.

A complete application package must include the following:

  • Completed Scholarship Application Form
  • Resume
  • Narrative
  • Official University/School Transcript
  • Professor Letter of Recommendation

Important due dates:

  • ALL VFF documents are due on or before Feb. 1, 2024, whether submitting electronically or mailing. Applications not completed by Feb. 1, 2024 will NOT be eligible for review.
  • Documents are to be sent directly to the VFF Coordinator:

Vertical Flight Society
Attention: Julie M. Gibbs, VFF Coordinator
2700 Prosperity Ave., Suite 275
Fairfax, VA 22031 USA
Email: / Tel: 703-684-6777 Ext. 103


Download a PDF of the VFF application. To determine at which level you are applying, see the eligibility examples above.


The narrative should provide a personal statement regarding your passion for aeronautics, aeronautical engineering or complex aviation systems and vertical flight technology specifically. The narrative should not be a restatement of your resume or description of research. If a student wants to be considered for the Dr. Jing Yen Cost Awareness scholarship, detailed interest and importance of afforability and how it might be improved should be included.


Students can use any format or template they choose for the resume portion of the application or there is a template available on the PDF application. The resume should be precise and accurate as possible, and include career objectives; school and/or employment history and experience, including relevant research; papers/publications or presentations; and extra-curricular activities. For consideration of the Jing Yen Cost Awareness scholarship, applicable research should be highlighted.


Once you have determined that you are eligible to apply for a VFF scholarship, order your transcripts, including the most recent set of grades issued.

  • Transcripts must be sent directly to the VFF Coordinator (, from your university's Office of the Registrar and must be received on or before February 1, 2024. Transcripts can be mailed or sent by secure electronic link but must be received by the deadline date. VFS will NOT accept transcripts from students.
  • If your transcript is not in English, VFS will request that the applicant provide a translation in English, which must be accredited by a letter from your professor verifying the accuracy of the translation.

Professor Letter of Recommendation

  • At least one letter of recommendation is required from a professor very familiar with you and your course work. The professor should provide a statement as to where you stand in regard to the students he/she has taught in his/her career and state if the student is in the top 5, 10 or 25% of the class based on his/her experience with all their students, past and present.
  • It is imperative the professor understand the recommendation guidelines. Please refer to Page 5 of the VFF Scholarship Application Guidelines and provide them to your professor.
  • The recommendation letter must be received by the VFF Coordinator on or before February 1, 2024. The letter must be sent and signed by the professor on university letterhead. VFS will NOT accept recommendation letters from students.

How Your Application Is Evaluated

All applications are reviewed by the VFF Scholarship Committee. Several scholarships are awarded each year by the Vertical Flight Foundation, unless there are no qualified applicants. Scholarship recipients will be notified by the VFF Coordinator in late March/early April.

Weighting Factors

Your application is evaluated based on:

VFF Weighing Factors• 35% Experience: Experience consists of work history, research, paper publications from resume.

• 25% Narrative

• 20% Letters of Recommendation: It is your responsibility to provide the guidelines to your professor.

• 10% Academics

• 10% Extra-curricular activities


The Vertical Flight Society's philanthropic arm, the Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF), was established in 1967. The Foundation is an independent charitable trust for the support of education in rotorcraft and vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft technology. The Foundation's awards are made possible solely by tax deductible donations.

Since 1977, the Foundation has awarded over 500 scholarships and these scholarships have been awarded to students from throughout the world who have demonstrated an interest in pursuing engineering careers in the vertical flight industry. All scholarships are thanks to the generosity and support of our contributors.