Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

VA funding changes

VA regulations negatively affect student learning

Over the past few years, the Veterans Administration (VA) has made changes in how it applies its rules, requiring adjustments to both the structure and administration of PCC’s Aviation Science program. Much effort was made to ensure compliance with these shifting regulations, and to offer our veteran students access to an efficient and effective Aviation Science program.

Unfortunately, the increasing rigidity of VA regulations has begun to negatively impact the progress and financial obligations of all our Aviation Science students, veterans, and non-veterans alike.

Proficiency training is the backbone of flight training. After making every attempt to work within VA rules, PCC has decided to restructure the Aviation Science program so that it offers a student-centered approach to flight training. The focus will be on an individual’s needs, bringing students to the proficiency required to achieve their goals.

PCC losing eligibility for VA funding

This decision means that PCC’s program does not meet VA regulations and is not eligible for VA funding. As such, PCC will be unable to admit new, VA-funded students to the Aviation Science program.

PCC will serve the aviation industry and students

The industry needs pilots now more than ever, but they must be trained in a manner based on industry needs. Forthcoming changes will allow the Aviation Science program to accommodate a broader range of students, as our mission dictates.

Flexibility and attention to each student’s learning style is a critical element of quality flight instruction. Under the advice of their instructor, some may elect for more simulator time and less aircraft time, while others may choose the opposite. Students could also shift some of their ground instruction from one part of the training, where they feel strong, to another, where they need extra help. Our restructured program will offer this latitude.

FAA regulations allow for this kind of flexibility as long as certain minimums are attained. Being attentive to the variety of student needs and learning styles is a cornerstone of quality flight instruction, resulting in greater financial efficiency and accelerated training progress for the student.

In a time of unprecedented pilot demand, we see a bright future for our program as we prepare our students for outstanding careers in a high-growth industry.

After many years of successful partnership with the VA, this course of action is disappointing to all involved in the Aviation Science program and the PCC Veterans Education Benefits Office. However, PCC’s top priority is to maintain a sustainable, high-quality program, offering equitable access to those we serve.

In the future, if VA funding regulations are restructured to better reflect the needs of industry and Aviation Science students, we will gladly revisit this partnership.