How to pay for flight school
One of the most frequently asked questions is ‘how to pay for flight school?’
We understand the cost of pilot training is a large financial commitment. The cost is reflective of the quality of training, the future financial rewards and the many other benefits of being a pilot.
Flight school loans are a source of financial aid to help fund your pilot training. From federal student loans to private and state flight school loans, we have a loan option for you.
Meritize flight school student loans
L3Harris Flight Academy has partnered with Meritize to offer educational financing for approved training programs. Qualified students could borrow up to 100% of the cost of training.
Sallie Mae flight school student loans
We've also teamed up with Sallie Mae to offer financing options to help fund pilot training. With a Smart Option Student Loan from Sallie Mae you could borrow up to 100% of the cost of training, and benefit from flexible repayment options.
Federal student loans for flight school
Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program
The Federal Direct Stafford Loans are low-interest student loans for flight schools available to help cover the cost of pilot training courses. This flight school loan is designed to support students undertaking a four-year pilot training course at a college, university, or other higher education establishment.
The Federal Direct Stafford Loan covers two types of loan:
- Direct subsidized loans - Designed for students who need financial support, subsidized pilot training loans are approved by aviation schools, and the amount of aid available is determined by your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Subsidized loans have a maximum eligibility period that is based on the duration of your chosen aviation course.
- Direct unsubsidized loans - Any student can apply for an unsubsidized loan without proving a need for financial support. These loans are issued at the discretion of the flight school, and if you wish, interest on these flight school loans can be paid during the program.
Federal Plus Loan - for parents
Parents can also apply for flight school loans to support their child’s pilot training expenses. The Federal Plus Loan is available to eligible parents of cadets under the age of 24 who are undertaking a flight training program.
This style of flight training loan requires parents to pass a credit check and is only available to parents and students who are USA citizens or eligible non-citizens.
Federal Pell Grants
Federal Pell Grants are another type of financial aid for undergraduate flight school students. Unlike the Federal Direct Stafford Loan or the Federal Plus Loan, the Federal Pell Grant does not have to be repaid.
This method of flight school financing is considered to be a foundation of federal aid, and other forms of federal aid can also be applied for while receiving the Federal Pell Grant. Cadets who apply for the Federal Pell Grant through L3Harris must not have earned a bachelor’s degree in the past and cannot then apply for a second grant through a different flight school.
Private and state student loans for flight school
If you find that you are not eligible for Federal Financial Aid options or scholarships, don’t worry. Cadets can also access student loans for flight school independently of L3Harris Flight Academy to fund their pilot training costs.
Private and state-funded student flight school loans have different eligibility criteria, making them an accessible option for many cadets. These loans are typically offered through banks, private lending organizations, or private savings.
Our Financial Aid Officers are also on hand to help you identify and apply for the aviation loan that best suits your situation. So that everyone can pursue their dream of becoming a pilot.
Alaska Resident Loan
The Alaska Resident Loan is also known as the Alaska Supplemental Education Loan (ASEL) or the Alaska Family Education Loan (FEL) is a flight training loan available to Alaskan residents who are undertaking pilot training at an aviation school out of state.
This loan has a limit of $10,000 per year, and an aggregate limit of $56,000. Cadets who take out an Alaska Resident Loan must repay all money borrowed within 10 years of graduating from their flight training program.
New Jersey Class Loan
Similarly, to the Alaska Resident Loan, the New Jersey Class Loan is available to residents of the state of New Jersey who are attending a flight training school out of state.
Applicants for the New Jersey pilot training loans can borrow up to the total cost of their pilot training course. This loan has a repayment term that can range between 10, 15, or 20 years depending on your circumstances.
Vermont Advantages Student Loan
Residents of the state of Vermont can also apply for a dedicated student flight school loan. The Vermont Advantages Student Loan allows cadets to borrow up to the total cost of their chosen flight training course.
Repayment of this aviation loan begins 45 days from the graduation of your aviation course and has a repayment term of 15 years.
American Airlines Credit Education Loan
If you are a member of the American Airlines Credit Union, you could be eligible for a student loan for flight school of up to $40,000. This loan requires repayment as soon as the funds have been sent and requires a repayment term of up to 10 years.
AOPA Aviation Finance Company
The AOPA Aviation Finance company offers a flight school loan, the AOPA Flex Finance Loan, which allows cadets to borrow up to $100,000 towards the cost of the flight training course. As with the American Airlines Credit loan, repayments begin as soon as funds are disbursed, and there is a maximum repayment period of 7 years.
International students can also apply for this aviation loan if they can show 2 years of USA tax history. Alternatively, if students cannot show this, they can still apply for this student flight school loan with a cosigner who can prove 2 years of USA tax history.
We Florida Financial (WeFly)
The state of Florida also offers aviation loans to its residents. Florida residents or members with the AOPA could be eligible to borrow up to $30,000 for aviation courses. For this loan, the repayment term is 6 years.
Florida National Guard: Educational Dollars for Duty
The Florida Educational Dollars for Duty (EDD) program is available for Florida National Guard Soldiers and Airmen and can support public tuition for the period of the Guard member’s service. This type of flight school funding is an alternative method of funding a flight training course.
If you meet the eligibility requirements, EDD can be used for courses that lead toward a Technical Certification, Associates, Bachelors, or Master’s Degree. The EDD can only be used towards approved courses with L3Harris.
Repaying your flight school loans
When applying for flight school loans there are several things that every applicant needs to be aware of.
As all types of pilot training loans (apart from grants such as the Federal Pell Grant) need to be repaid, it is important to ensure that you have a plan in place and the means to repay the loan within the repayment window. Each type of loan will have a different repayment window, so be sure to look at this carefully, along with the interest rate.
To ensure that you can stick to the repayment conditions of your loan, never borrow more than is necessary for the cost of your training program.
Always carefully read the paperwork and terms & conditions of your loan so you are aware of your rights and responsibilities.
If you have applied for multiple flight school loans to cover the cost of your tuition, you could consider private loan consolidation to help you keep on top of loan repayments.Request info
Pros and cons of private student loans for flight school
- Private student flight school loans could help you to cover flight school funding if you are not eligible for scholarships or grants
- It’s possible to receive loans with higher borrowing limits with private student loans compared to federal funding options
- Private flight school loans also often have lower interest rates compared with Federal loans, which can make repayments more affordable
- Eligibility for private student loans for flight school can be entirely dependent on credit history
- If you have a lower credit score it could mean that you end up having to pay higher interest rates compared to federal loans
- Some private loans require repayments to begin while you are still attending your flight school course
- Federal loan options typically offer more flexibility on repayment plans and can be easier to negotiate late or overdue payment issues
funding available to
those who qualify
graduates who stay as CFI
placed with airlines
single and multi-engine
Other types of financial aids for flight school
Flight school loans are not the only way to finance your pilot training course. Scholarships, grants, and Federal Financial Aid are also available to provide financial support for future pilots.
Aviation scholarships are one of the most popular types of flight school financing. Scholarships don’t have to be paid back, so you can graduate flight school with little or no student debt!
- Veterans Scholarship
- High School Senior Merit Scholarship
- Diversity Scholarship
Federal Financial Aid
Unlike many other flight schools, L3Harris Flight Academy is accredited in the same way as USA colleges and universities, approving our flight school to offer Federal Financial Aid to students who qualify, on our PPP.
Federal Financial Aid provides low-interest loans to make aviation courses accessible to more students. If you are successful in your application, you could receive cover for up to 150% of your program length, to help cover tuition fees and living costs.