TWU To Launch New Aviation School With Grant

Aviation School
Woman pilot in an airplane cockpit. | Image by Natalia Bostan/Shutterstock

A new aviation program at Texas Woman’s University (TWU) is getting a big boost from a charitable donation that could help alleviate the nation’s pilot shortage in some small part long-term.

On Wednesday, the university’s Board of Regents voted to accept $15 million from the Houston J. and Florence A. Doswell Foundation. The money is slated to bolster the new Doswell School of Aeronautical Sciences.

“On behalf of myself, and the Texas Woman’s University System’s Board of Regents, we are deeply grateful for the Doswell Foundation’s generous gift to our institution. Their partnership and ongoing support will take Texas Woman’s [University] to new heights,” said Board Chairwoman Stacie McDavid, according to a TWU news release.

Starting an aviation program at TWU reportedly stemmed from the foundation’s CEO, Beverly Fricke, who raised the idea with TWU Chancellor Carine Feyten.

“TWU is located in the DFW metroplex, home to two major airlines, and our third campus in Houston, another hub for major airlines, as well as Denton having its own very own airport. It seemed like everything was perfect,” Feyten said to the Denton Record-Chronicle.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the airline industry has been facing a serious pilot shortage in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in U.S. airports losing roughly 25% of their flights.

“It’s very expensive, not just to obtain a bachelor’s degree but also to obtain that flight training that can run anywhere from $60,000 to $80,000, to upwards of $100,000 in addition to tuition and fees,” said Kimberly Russell, TWU’s vice president of university advancement, speaking with NBC 5.

“So, partnering with our airlines, partnering with companies that are interested in helping us fill that gap, we’re hoping that we can overcome those barriers for women for sure,” Russell added.

If authorized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, TWU will offer a bachelor’s degree in aviation sciences, with the option to enroll in professional pilot training or study aviation management. The first cohort of students could enroll as early as the fall of 2024.

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