Aviation Education Program

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Aeronautics Division’s Aviation Education program supports State higher education projects that enhance curriculum and faculty development; strengthen workforce training and development; and promote public outreach in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines related to aeronautics, aviation, physical and human geography, and earth system science.

The purpose of TDOT Aeronautics Division Aviation Education program is to increase public awareness and knowledge of aviation related fields throughout Tennessee. The program focuses on promoting aviation educational programs and activities for students in high school and higher education programs to cultivate student interest in, and knowledge of, aeronautics and aviation related career fields in Tennessee. Emphasis on these student outcomes, in conjunction with greater involvement with service and education organizations, promotes and enhances the aviation industry and associated aviation related career fields in Tennessee.

Since the promotion of aviation in Tennessee is at the core of the Aviation Education program, each Aviation Education Program grant application, project, and/or program proposal will be evaluated on how the program will influence others to pursue aviation education, careers, activities, and more in the state.

The grant funding application requires each applicant to submit a proposal that describes the type of program for which he or she is requesting funding along with the program’s targeted population, location, dates, and purpose. Each applicant will be required to provide how the program will promote aviation in the state, the goals and objectives of the program, and the aviation subject area or areas that will be addressed during the program. Additionally, each applicant must use performance measures to determine whether the program is meeting its stated goals, objectives, and aviation impacts. Finally, applicants will be required to provide justification of why their organization requires funding from the TDOT Aeronautics Division for the program.

Eligible applicants are educational institutions, and other public sector organizations located in the State of Tennessee. Students and faculty receiving direct financial support from TDOT Aeronautics Division must be US Citizens. Grant application proposals should incorporate diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, and geographic location (such as rural or underserved); and describe impact in terms of number of people involved, project/program scope, and anticipated long-term effects. The project period is one year from date of award.

Program Overview

The TDOT Aeronautics Division's Aviation Education Program is a competitive, 100% reimbursable, grant program for nonprofits, local governments, and educational institutions working to advance aviation- and aeronautics-related education, career fields and industry throughout Tennessee.

All programs and associated grant awards must demonstrate anticipated program outcomes promoting aviation education, aviation industry growth, aviation workforce related training, or expansion of aviation outreach/community engagement.

What is the grant contract period?

The grant contract period is 12 months. A review and evaluation of program outcomes will follow the grant contract period to close the project and associated funding grant.

How much funding can an organization apply for?

There is no limitation on project funding request amounts; however, the total funding allocated for the Aviation Education Program is limited to $200,000. Programs selected for funding must demonstrate the characteristics of well-planned and detailed budget requests, financial needs statements, year-over-year program sustainability, broad funding support/sources for larger projects, and fiscally lean program operations.

Additional Program and Grant Considerations

  •  The grant application must be submitted and administered by the sponsoring nonprofit organization, local government, or educational entity. 
  • Local aviation industry and educational partnerships and collaborative work is highly encouraged. 
  • The Aviation Education Program is a reimbursable grant program. A reimbursable grant program means that the grant recipient spends the grant funds as agreed upon in the application budget line items for eligible activities, and then submits respective receipts and other documentation to TDOT Aeronautics Division for review and grant recipient reimbursement.
  • Participating organizations will be required to submit proper documentation of all grant expenditures. Failure to follow TDOT- and state-specified uses or accounting requirements may result in loss of program participation and/or funding. 
  • All expenditures must take place within the timeframe of the grant period as designated by the grant contract.
  • Education program applicants are strongly encouraged to align their curriculum with approved state and federal aviation curriculum.

Who can apply for program funding?

Local governments, educational institutions, and other public entities. No applications from private entities or individuals will be considered. Projects must be based on aviation- or aeronautics-related educational opportunities for Tennesseans. Additional consideration will be given to sustainable education and outreach programs that are comprehensive, innovative, and leverage broad partnerships across organizations and education levels. Non-public entities who wish to participate will need to do so through a partnership with an eligible public entitiy (i.e. partner with a public school/government).

What are eligible program purposes or activities?  (Examples include, but are not limited to):

  • New or expanded aviation-related education programs focusing on any facet of aeronautics to include, but not limited to: 
    • Drones and associated Remote Sensing Technology
    • Rockets and Rocketry
    • Introduction to Aerospace (General)
    • Introduction to Careers in Aviation
    • Introduction to Aviation Flight (Rotary/Fixed-Wing Aircraft Piloting)
    • Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Mechanics
    • Introduction to Aeromechanical Engineering
    • Introduction to Air Traffic Control
    • Flight simulation training equipment, software purchases, licenses, installation, and support.
  • Programs providing skills development training for roles or occupations related to aviation workforce needs
  • Aviation teachers workshops and associated aviation curriculum development
  • Facilities or venue space accessible to the public which is dedicated in significant part or in whole to aviation or aviation industry advancement or workforce training, career/industry exploration, equipment resources, industry-related events or more
  • Prominent regional, statewide, or national interactive aviation education or outreach events of note
  • Matching portions for secured relevant local, federal, or philanthropic grants supporting aviation sector education resources, programs, activities, or industry sector development
  • Aviation sector skills development growth or skills acceleration programs

Ineligible Costs or Projects:

  • Non-budget line item program/organization operating expenditures
  • Organization facilities management/maintenance
  • Office Supplies and associated non-budget line item expendables
  • Broad organizational operating costs to include insurance, medical, accounting, legal fees, or administrative salaries
  • Prizes or prize money, scholarships, awards, plaques, training certifications, t-shirts, uniforms, or any other promotional items

TDOT Aeronautics Division reserves the right to deny any project expenditures that are inconsistent with the approved program budget or program goals. If a program sponsor has any questions regarding cost or program reimbursement eligibility, contact Aviation Education Program Manager at Aero.grants@tn.gov.

Application Period

The application period will be April 15, 2024 to May 15, 2024.

Program and Grant Application Scoring Matrix

  • Executive Summary/Program Overview & Overall Application Completeness and Quality (Max 5 Points)
  • Goals and Objectives of Program (Max 10 Points)
  • Expected Program Outcomes/Impact (Max 15 Points)
  • Program Implementation Strategy/Program Planning (Max 15 Points)
  • Consistency with Local Need/Community Impact (Outreach Program or Adherence to Codified Curriculum (Education Program) (Max 10 Points)
  • Ability to Measure and Quantify Project Outcomes (Max 20 Points)
  • Program Sustainability (Max 10 Points)
  • Program Budget and Schedule (Max 15 Points)


Submit an email with your program concept or proposal prior to submitting your grant/program application. Include a brief paragraph describing the project or program, estimated budget, geographic area that will be served, and your contact information. Email the proposal to Aviation Education Program Manager at Aero.Grants@tn.gov with “Aviation Education Program – Intent to Apply” in the subject line.


Email Aviation Education Program Manager at Aero.Grants@tn.gov  with “Aviation Education Program - Request for Information” in the subject line.

Application Period
April 15 - May 15, 2024

Review Period
May - June 2024

Grant Award Date
June 2024

If you have any questions about the application process or the program, contact Aviation Education Program Manager at Aero.Grants@tn.gov or (615) 741-3208.