By SHANE TOPONCE
Students seeking a degree in aviation may find the choice to attend schools other than BYU an easy one.
“Utah Valley State College has the best aviation program in Utah,” said Ron Smart, head of the aviation program at UVSC. “No college in Utah offers this extensive of an aviation program.”
“Our program started back in 1989 and has grown and developed to offer a wide range of programs for students,” Smart said.
The programs offered include air traffic control, flight instruction, aviation management, in-flight attendant instruction and air plane maintenance.
UVSC has more than 500 students enrolled in the program and 10 planes for student use.
Student planes range from small ones, like the Katana, to bigger twin-engine planes, such as the 421 Golden Eagle. UVSC also has three helicopters.
“The program is constantly growing,” Smart said. “We hope in the future to have over 30 planes and try to accommodate as many students as we can with those 30 planes.”
UVSC has a continuing education program for students attending other colleges or universities. After completing two years of study at their institution, students are eligible to enroll in the aviation program.
“This continuing education program is great for out-of-state students who would normally have to pay a higher tuition at UVSC,” Smart said. “As part of the continuing education program, the tuition fee is much smaller.”
UVSC also offers scholarships and loans for the aviation program. There are 20 scholarships available for tuition.
UVSC’s program is also appealing to international students.
“I chose UVSC because it was one of the cheapest schools in the USA that I looked at, plus it had one of the best aviation programs available,” said Martin Hafhanzel from Frankfurt, Germany, a second year student in UVSC’s aviation program.
“It is cheaper for me to come to America to become a commercial pilot than it is to stay in Germany and complete the program,” Hafhanzel said. “For me to stay in Germany I would have to have paid around $90,000 at completion of the program, and here at UVSC I will only have to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000.”