Min. credit score
Flight school can be costly, especially if your pilot training program doesn’t qualify for federal aid. And the cost of flight training school depends on your aspirations — a commercial pilot’s license can cost well up to $100,000.
But don’t let the sticker price of flight school deter you. If your dream is to become a pilot, you have options to pay for flight school beyond traditional student loans.
There are quite a few paths to take to pay for flight school tuition and pilot training certifications. Additionally, you can combine a number of these methods.
If you’re looking for a way to cut the cost of flight school, look to these first. There are plenty of scholarship opportunities available through aviation organizations — and scholarships don’t need to be repaid. The requirements for scholarships vary based on the type: government, military, athletics, identity-based and so on.
School grants don’t need to be repaid either, and can come from federal, state and even university sources. However, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Dream Act in order to be considered eligible for most grants.
Best for: People that only want to borrow what they need.
Personal loans can be used for nearly anything, including paying for flight school tuition. The amount you can get for personal loans depends on the lender you work with, and many offer limits from as low as $1,000 all the way up to $50,000. However, there are some lending marketplaces and lenders, such as Credible, that offer up to $100,000.
Personal loans can be secured or unsecured. Unsecured personal loans (loans without collateral) may be a little harder to qualify for and may come with higher rates.
Best for: Those who need a large amount but can’t qualify for a federal or private student loan.
There are two main types of student loans: private and federal.
Private student loans come from individual financial institutions, such as a bank or credit union. Federal student loans come in two flavors; subsidized, where the interest is paid by the education department while you’re in school, and unsubsidized loans when the interest starts accruing as soon as you get funds.
Often, flight schools are private so they lack degree programs, making them ineligible for private student loans. You can get federal student loans for flight school if you’re attending an accredited flight school (FAA-certified), like the National Aviation Academy or Beyond Aviation Flight School.
Best for: People attending an accredited flight school, or a college to earn an aviation-related degree.
|Loan amount||APR||Term||Eligibility requirements|
|Federal Direct Subsidized Loans||$3,500 to $5,500 per year — depending on what year you are in school||Up to 25 years||Undergraduate student, enrolled at least half time at a Title IV school, demonstrate financial need, meet otherfederal student aid eligibility requirements|
|Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans||Up to 25 years||Undergraduate, graduate or professional student; enrolled at least half time at a Title IV school; meet other federal student aid eligibility requirements|
|Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans||Up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance||Up to 25 years||Graduate or professional student, enrolled at least half time at a Title IV school, no adverse credit history, meet other federal student aid eligibility requirements|
|Sallie Mae||Cost of attendance less financial aid||4.50% to 15.49% APR||60 to 180 months||You may be eligible if you are at least 18 years old and if you are US citizen or permanent resident|
In addition to these loan options, some lenders offer financing specifically for pilot training. AOPA Aviation Finance and We Florida Financial Credit Union both provide financing to help you earn your pilot’s license.
Some schools partner with private lenders to offer financing. This can help ease the burden of searching for loans you may not ultimately qualify for. Some airlines — like JetBlue, PSA Airlines and Delta — offer training programs that end with a job offer. The exact scope of the training and how much you pay varies, so compare programs to find the airline that best suits your needs.
ATP flight school is partnered with Sallie Mae to offer low-interest student loans to ATP training students. There are flexible repayment options, deferment programs, and no origination fees or prepayment penalties. Schools such as Blue Line Aviation have also partnered with FMS Bank’s Skybound Professional Pilot Loan Program.
To qualify for a training program some programs only require you to have a high school diploma, but a few may require a bachelor’s or associate degree in an aviation-related field.
Requirements for an airline training program can include:
Best for: People looking for convenience who want to enroll in a training program with available aid.
A private pilot certificate can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000, depending on the flight school, the airplane used and how fast you complete the program.
A commercial pilot certificate can reach up to $100,000, according to the Pilot Institute. If you have no experience, expect to pay closer to $90,000.
When you’re ready to apply for aid, make sure you have information about yourself and your finances on hand to make the application process a little easier. Then follow these steps:
Federal student loans don’t come with a credit check, but other student financing options typically do. If you have poor credit, you may want to consider a cosigner, also called a guarantor. Cosigners sign onto the loan with you and agree to repay the loan if you’re unable. Many students have a parent or guardian act as a guarantor. Explore personal loans with cosigners and co-borrowers.
Keep these three factors in mind when you’re comparing loans for flight school:
Ready to turn your dream of becoming a pilot into a reality? You might want to start by looking into scholarships offered by aviation organizations to reduce how much you need to borrow in terms of flight school loans.Then you can pick up the slack by taking out a loan.
If you don’t qualify for scholarships, grants, or student loans, compare personal loans to help fund your education or training in becoming a pilot.
22% of borrowers say they won’t be able to afford student loan repayments when they resume.
Compare 5 lenders you might qualify with — even without a cosigner.
It all depends on your financial aid package.
Undergraduates apply for more federal aid than any other group — but more might be eligible.
By 2042, student loan debt could grow to be larger than mortgage debt in the United States.
Want to pay less interest and fewer fees on your student loans? See how top refinancing lenders compare.
Here’s what to expect when it comes to rates, terms, restrictions and more between these two types of loans. Find out which is better for your situation.
Find out how much Americans borrow for higher education, how student debt balances have changed over the years and who’s borrowing the most.
What repealing Dodd-Frank could mean for student loans.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.