Hoeven Secures $2.5 Million Award for "Vets to Wings" Pilot Training Program at UND

Program Helps Veterans Cover Costs Not Included under GI Bill Benefits

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today announced that he has secured from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) a $2.5 million award for a new veteran pilot training program to the University of North Dakota (UND). Among other services, the program can help veterans cover the gap for costs not included under the GI Bill and other benefits, like Federal Tuition Assistance. As a member of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Committee, Hoeven:

  • Worked to include the competitive funding, which is similar to the American Aviator Act that Hoeven is sponsoring, in annual appropriations legislation between fiscal years 2020-2022. 
  • Made the case to then-FAA Administrator Steve Dickson that UND was best suited to spearhead the new opportunity for veterans and pressed for the program to be implemented in a timely way.

Hoeven was joined at the announcement by UND President Andrew Armacost; Dr. Robert Kraus, Dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences; and Dr. Elizabeth Bjerke, Associate Dean of the Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. 

“Our nation is facing a severe pilot shortage, and we need a new generation of qualified pilots to help ensure continued access to safe and reliable air service, which is vital to our economy and quality of life,” said Hoeven. “It only makes sense to leverage our world-class flight school at UND and offer this opportunity to veterans. Through the funding we secured, we are establishing a pipeline from UND to commercial airlines to help meet the demand for new pilots, while better supporting veterans who want to pursue this career.”

Under the cooperative agreement, UND will expand flight training services for veterans to provide a pathway for them to become commercial airline pilots. Grant funding may be used to provide guidance and flight-training services, including additional training required to reach proficiency.