Missionary Pilot Program

Missionary Pilot Loan-Forgiveness Program

Missionary Pilot Program lg 

Now recruiting missionary pilot candidates! SDCC offers training and ratings required by MAF, JAARS & New Tribes missionary ministries.


We know aviation is expensive. College debt is the primary barrier to pilots wishing to serve in the mission field. San Diego Christian College now offers a loan-forgiveness program for missionary pilots to help cover the cost of flight fees. 


SDCC’s Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Technology offers pilots the opportunity to specialize in one of three disciplines: Missionary, Military or Commercial pilot training. Pilots in the Missionary track may be eligible to receive loans to cover a portion of their flight fees. Aviation course fees cover the cost of airplane rental and flight instructor fees that can total $49,000 over four years.  


Donors who believe SDCC should be a conduit for pilots into the mission field have made funds available to help cover part of the cost of flight training to students meeting certain criteria. Following graduation, loan forgiveness pilots have up to two years to qualify for service with an approved missionary ministry. Pilots selected for the program will have their loan balance reduced by 25% for each year they are under contract with a missionary ministry. Pilots who drop out of the program must repay the loan as a promissory note.  


Here’s how it works: Missionary pilots must fill out an application for the loan program and be selected by a committee that will review the applications and qualifications for each candidate.  


Applicants for the Missionary Pilot Loan Forgiveness Program (MPLFP) will not receive flight funds their first year. In addition to a strong spiritual testimony, pilots must prove they are capable of handling their academic load, cope with the demands of their flight schedule, and demonstrate a strong calling to the mission field during the first year of college.  During their first two semesters, pilots will interview with the Shadow Mountain Community Church Mission Board and the SDCC MPLFP selection board. Selectees will be announced at the end of the school year for funding in the fall semester. 


Pilots meeting the criteria will receive loans of at least $5000 per school year. If additional funds come into the program from donors, the amount could increase but we cannot guarantee the amount. Each program participant will be evaluated and interviewed annually to ascertain their commitment to missionary aviation. Loans for the flight fees will be granted accordingly.  


Use our Online Application  or  Download and print the Application


Missionary Pilot Loan Forgiveness Program (MPLFP) – Eligibility Criteria  


Our goal is to assist as many students as possible while maintaining proper stewardship of the funds made available for the program. MPLFP is a loan, not a scholarship, which must be repaid in the event the recipient is unable to complete the service requirements following graduation. 


To be eligible for the funds:  


I.  During your first year at SDCC, you must:     

Complete the ground and flight courses within the semester time frame 

Maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average 

Declare as a Missionary Aviation major 

Schedule a Vision Trip with Missionary Aviation Fellowship
 (MAF) between freshman and sophomore year (flexibility granted for transfer students) 

Interview in person with the MPLFP selection committee   

Interview with Shadow Mountain Community Church Missions Board 

II. At the end of your second semester, you must:     

Complete FAA Private Pilot (or appropriate) rating 

Note: ratings must be completed in the semester they are registered 

III. Between freshman and sophomore year, you must:   

Complete a Vision Trip with Missionary Aviation Fellowship.   

IV. At all times, you must:     

Uphold the testimony and standards of behavior expected of an SDCC student 

Complete aviation flight ratings within the semester time frame 

Maintain a Missionary Aviation major    

Attend church, maintain personal devotions, and be involved in student ministry 

Apply for at least 2 additional scholarships – (proof of application required) 


Flight fees will be awarded in the second year after completion of the above stated items to the top candidates. Transfers or students who have completed pilot ratings will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The ongoing award of flight fees will be approved pending continued eligibility of the student and availability of funds. 


Please understand, the majority of the funding for this program is from donations and the ongoing availability of the awards is dependent on continued financial support. There will be communication prior to the end of each school year as to the availability of funding for the upcoming year. See the SDCC website to download the application and for further information. 


We are excited and thankful for this program as we recognize it as a great opportunity to help missionary aviation students reduce their debt load and consequently enter the mission field sooner. 


Application Process 

If you feel called to serve the Lord through missionary aviation, SDCC’s Aviation Program will provide the pilot training required by missionary organizations. Pilot training and FAA ratings add approximately $49,000 to the cost of a 4-year degree due to the cost of aircraft, fuel and instructors. The Missionary Pilot Loan Forgiveness program was designed to reduce the debt missionary pilots incur earning their college degree and FAA pilot ratings by paying off or "forgiving" flight fee loans at 25% per year if you are under contract with an approved missionary organization. That means you can eliminate the loaned portion of your flight training debt by serving four years on the mission field. 


Candidates must be enrolled in the Aviation Technology degree program at SDCC and declare their major in Missionary Aviation. They must also go through the standard financial aid FAFSA procedures. Please familiarize yourself with pilot qualifications on the New Tribes Mission Aviation, MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship), JAARS websites to be familiar with the requirements necessary to become a missionary pilot before sending in your application. 


To apply for the loan program, fill out online, or download the application pdf from the link above and email it along with your essay and any supporting information to SDCC. SDCC will review the applications and interview candidates during their second semester at SDCC. A list of program requirements is included to insure a standard of excellence in our program. Students must show they are capable of being excellent pilots and at the same time demonstrate a strong testimony and commitment to missionary aviation. Funding awards will be announced at the end of the spring semester each year.  


Recipients will be asked to give their testimony to the Shadow Mountain Community Church Missions Board sometime during the spring semester. All applicants must follow the normal procedures for financial aid including the FAFSA process.  


Students who drop out of the program, leave SDCC, change majors or do not go to the mission field as a pilot must repay the loan to SDCC. Repayment will be made under conditions of a Promissory Note signed by each loan recipient just as any college debt is repaid to lending institutions. 


Our goal is to get qualified pilots to the mission field. Please pray about your calling and ask God's wisdom for your vocation. Missionary aviation is exciting, demanding and rewarding, but it is not for everybody. Give prayerful thought to your decisions regarding missionary aviation. Thank you for considering serving God and your brothers and sisters in Christ through aviation. 

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