Flight School Loans: Reviewing Federal and Private Loan Programs for Pilot Training

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AOPA Flight Training Funds Program

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) offers loans for flight training through their AOPA Flight Training Funds Program. AOPA gives pilot loans for up to $25,000. This loan is one of the most flexible flight training funding options available. The program does not limit the use of funds to certain types of schools or training. These can be used for aircraft rentals, instructor training, to purchase pilot supplies and anything else that might be needed. The funds can be used in any way that you choose to obtain your flight training goals, such as career or personal flight training.

AOPA Flight Training Funds Program

Sallie Mae Career Training Loan Program

Some traditional student loan providers now offer loans for pilot training. Sallie Mae is one company that offers loans to flight school students through their Sallie Mae Career Training Loan Program. The Sallie Mae Career Training Loan only offers loans for students to go to schools that are licensed or accredited with the US Department of Education, therefore they are backed with the security of the government.

Sallie Mae Career Training Loan

Pilot Finance, Inc.

Pilot Finance offers loans for part time flight training. The loans are offered through some part 61 and part 141 flight schools. Pilot Finance can enroll schools that are not currently participating in their program. Because Pilot Finance only offers loans for part time flight training, you are limited to how often you can fly while using loan funds. Funds can only be used for aircraft rental and instructor fees. They can not be used to purchase books or other flight equipment.

Loans Through Flight Schools

Some larger flight schools offer flight training loans through private banks or federal student loan programs. However, funds from these loans can only be used at the flight school they were applied through. Flight schools can assist a student or potential student apply for these loans, making the process much less painful.

Credit Cards and Personal Lines of Credit

Credit cards and personal lines of credit can always be used for flight training. The benefit to using credit cards and personal lines of credit are that you can use the funds in any which way that you choose. The drawback is that these loans often are harder to get and have higher interest rates.

Grants and Scholarships

Some flying clubs offer grants and scholarships for flight training. Usually the grant and scholarship amount is not nearly enough to complete your flight training goals, but anything can help and best of all these don’t have to be repaid. Flying clubs have different rules that pertain to who qualifies for a grant or scholarship from their club. If you are interested in obtaining a grant or a scholarship from a flying club, look for flying clubs in your area. Local flight schools and newspapers often have advertisements for flying clubs.

Learn more about where to find grants and scholarships at: https://www.brighthub.com/science/aviation/articles/123727.aspx