Southern Utah University’s Board of Trustees approved to officially change the name of the SUU Aviation Program during its Friday, Sept. 27, board meeting. The program will now be known as the College of Aerospace Sciences and Technology.
“The creation of the new College of Aerospace Sciences and Technology helps to ‘future-proof’ SUU so that we can support our Aviation Program for many years to come,” said Associate Provost James Sage in an email statement. “Whether it is through the development of aviation maintenance, airport operations, and management, or cabin crew training programs, this new college will allow SUU’s Aviation Department to prepare students for gainful employment in professional careers.”
This is an investment in one of the fastest-growing programs at SUU that began in 2013. With over 400 students in the 14 fixed wing airplanes and 12 helicopters, CAST can now expand degree programs and build on SUU’s national leadership in aviation education.
Currently, the aviation department offers associate and bachelor degrees in various aspects of flight. A new Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) program begins in 2020 and advanced degrees are anticipated including aviation management and cabin crew training.
With much of the pilot pool aging out of the cockpit, SUU is “training 10 percent of the nations’ helicopter pilots” along with “a significant number of airplane pilots,” according to the SUU official statement.
“We are committed to helping address the national and global shortage of pilots and technicians,” said Scott L. Wyatt, President of SUU. “The creation of this college will help us focus on building the best quality program possible to meet the needs of the aerospace industry.”
SUU executives are also working to help aviation students afford the program by meeting with federal education and congressional leaders to include aviation undergraduate and graduate programs to the PLUS loan program. A federally backed PLUS loan offers higher loan amounts for other professional programs such as medical and law degrees.
Aviation graduates from CAST can anticipate earning $55 for every $1 invested in their education over an aviation career.
Story By: Ben Pollchik
Photos Courtesy of: SUU.edu