Flight School Loans & Flight Training Financing

Flight School Loans & Flight Training Financing

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How to Pay for Flight School

You need a career that makes your loan a good investment.

Flight training should be accessible to everyone who puts in the hard work.

The Flex Air Pilot Pathway combines financing with flight training, career coaching, and job placement services for aspiring airline pilots. Our program is the only one of its kind in the aviation industry, and is supported by a network of hiring airlines, lenders, and financial technology providers. We take a personalized approach because we see every student as a career-long relationship.

Our career advisors help you build a personal budget and then select the best financing provider in our network to fit your needs. We’re with you every step of the way, from  finding great financing, to a great job after graduation to pay for it.

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Ready to start? Here are some great funding options for Flex Air flight training.

Apply to as many loans as you wish and pick the best one for your needs.


Stratus_financial_logo

PROS: Slightly lower rates, can use for housing & living expenses, unlimited loan size / CONS: Slightly more co-borrower requirements

Stratus Financial

No maximum funding limit.

Apply to Stratus (All locations)

 

 

Meritize-logo

PROS: Great deferment period, fewer co-borrower requirements / CONS: Slightly higher rates, can't use for housing expenses

Meritize

$106,000 funding limit.

Apply to Meritize (California)

Apply to Meritize (Kansas)

Personal loan, open membership

PenFed Credit Union

Personal loan limit is up to $50,000.
Personal loan, open membership

Wings Credit Union

Personal loan limit $30,000 - $50,000
Loan for AOPA members

AOPA Aviation Finance

Maximum loan amount: $20,000
Scholarships and grants are for everyone

Scholarships & Grants

Browse our aviation scholarships guide - updated monthly!

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Military Veteran? We can help with VA Benefits and Federal Loans for Pilots

Are you a transitioning service member? We are here to serve you. Learn more about using your SkillBridge, GI Bill®, VR&E, and Credentialing Assistance benefits with us.

Talk to a Flex Air Veteran Mentor today!

Personal loan for military

Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union is open to military-affiliated members. Their personal loan limit is up to $50,000.

Personal loan for military

USAA

USAA is open to military-affiliated members. Their personal loan limit is up to $50,000.
Personal loan for military or civilians

Service Credit Union

Open to military-affiliated and civilian members. Personal loan limit is up to $50,000.
More questions about Airline Pilot Loans?

Flight School Loan FAQ

Questions about how to pay for flight school? We've got answers.

Flight Training Loans: Myths and Opportunities

With airline pilots banking over $15 million in wealth over their entire careers, financing your flight training may be a smart move. Flex Air has more loan options than most flight schools, and we stay with our prospective students every step of the way.

Is a loan a good idea for you financially? Your personal finances are just that - personal - so we encourage you to compare the cost of training and loan interest to potential earnings. Pilot salary potential is at an all-time high, and we've compiled everything you need to know about pay for pilots and how the pilot shortage will drive more pay increases and job security in the future.

Most pilots become pilots for reasons other than a high salary. It's up to you to decide your career path. Do your research, but above all, follow your passion!

 

Have questions? Speak with a career mentor about financing your flight training.

Free Career Financing Session

Types of Flight School Loans

Flight school loans are most often private student loans or flight training loans issued by banks and specialized aviation lenders like Meritize and Stratus.

When it comes to aviation training, there are different types of student loans available to finance flight school. These include federal student loans, private student loans, and specific loan options offered by bank and other institutions.

Setting Up Your Pilot Training Loan: Every Pilot needs a Checklist

We have provided information here to help you in this process. Please research all options and plan accordingly when setting up a student loan account. Some students are interested in consolidated loans. You can discuss options with these lenders. They will check your credit score when you apply. Many student loans do not expect you to begin making payments until you graduate and begin your career.

Stratus_financial_logo
 Apply to Stratus (All locations)
 
PROS: Slightly lower rates, can use for housing & living expenses, unlimited loan size / CONS: Slightly more co-borrower requirements

Stratus Financial Loan Application Checklist:

Having these documents prior to starting will help you complete your Stratus Loan Application quickly.

Personal Information

  • Email address
  • Phone number (where you want to be reached)
  • Permanent mailing address that can be verified with proper documentation
  • Utility bill, leasing agreement
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • FAA Class 1 Medical Certificate (see below)

School and Program

  • Name of school: Flex Air
  • Name of program: Pilot Pathway
  • School location: California or Kansas
  • Start and end date

Co-Borrower Information

  • Email address
  • Phone number (where co-borrower wants to be reached)
  • Permanent mailing address that can be verified with proper documentation
  • Utility bill, leasing agreement
  • Household income (approximate)
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number

Am I eligible for the Stratus Student Loan?

The most important eligibility requirement is that you need to hold a current and valid FAA Class 1 medical. This is an important step in making sure you can hold down a job as a professional pilot. See our guide to obtaining a FAA Class 1 medical. If you have questions or concerns about how to obtain your medical, we recommend Dr. Bradley Harrison and Kansas Aviation Medicine for all your FAA medical certificate needs. He's a former US Army doctor, is a Flex Air alumni, and can do remote consultations.

Schedule a Consultation for your FAA Class 1 Medical here.

Why we love Stratus Financial

Stratus Financial was founded by FAA Certificated Flight and Ground Instructors passionate about helping others achieve their aviation dreams. This is why flight students can rely on Stratus Financial. They know it’s not just about achieving your dreams (because they looked up in the sky every time they heard an airplane, too!), but funding your family’s dreams as well.

With Stratus, you’re not just a number. They look beyond the typical credit scores and see you as an aviator. Their goal is to set you up for success before you even apply with them. Stratus lending packages include:

  • A great rate to take you from zero to hero
  • Full financing for your entire flight training and more
  • Pay for living expenses, housing, and student supplies using your loan no maximum loan limit
  • Affordable payment options, including deferment for 12 months while you complete your training AND find a job
  • And, you can pay off your loan any time you want with no consequences or penalties whatsoever.

Can I use loan funds for living and housing expenses? 

Yes! Stratus Financial loans can fund living expenses, including housing. Contact our career mentors for a personalized Training Proposal that will lay out all your school-certified costs of attending Flex Air. Flex Air provides housing at its Kansas bases, and you can use loan funds for housing expenses. 

Flex Air uniquely offers a Pro Tools Program for loan-funded students. Your loan funds can also be loaded onto a student expenses card at Flex Air that you can use to purchase student materials, pay for living expenses, or whatever other assistance you need during flight training.

What are the loan limits? 

The maximum loan size for Stratus is unlimited. This allows great flexibility for you to accommodate living expenses and housing during training.

Stratus Career Resources:

  • Counseling with their team of flight and ground instructors to support you through flight training, check rides and even interviews with airlines
  • Resume reviewing, editing, and building
  • AMA phone calls with pilots in the 121 and 135 industry

The process is simple, and you can get started now. If you have limited credit or low income, you may need a co-borrower to apply with you.

Apply for Your Stratus Financial Flight School Loan

Contact information:

Students can contact lending@stratus.finance or call (855) 301-3335.


Meritize-logo
 

 
Apply to Meritize (California)
 
Apply to Meritize (Kansas)
 
PROS: Great deferment period, fewer co-borrower requirements / CONS: Slightly higher rates, can't use for housing expenses

Meritize Loan Application Checklist:

Having these documents prior to starting will help you complete your Meritize Loan Application quickly.

Personal Information

  • Email address
  • Phone number (where you want to be reached)
  • Permanent mailing address that can be verified with proper documentation
  • Utility bill, leasing agreement
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number

Academic Experience

  • Highest level of education completed
  • Name of college or high school
  • Graduation date
  • Official or unofficial high school or college transcript
  • Or HSE certification (GED, TASC, HiSET)

School and Program

  • Name of school: Flex Air
  • School code: 7920
  • Name of program: Zero to CFI
  • School location: California or Kansas
  • Start and end date

Military Experience

  • A copy of your DD214

Co-Borrower Information

  • Email address
  • Phone number (where co-borrower wants to be reached)
  • Permanent mailing address that can be verified with proper documentation
  • Utility bill, leasing agreement
  • Household income (approximate)
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number

Am I eligible for the Meritize Student Loan?

Many Flex Air Flight Training students apply for and receive student loans from Meritize. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or hold an Employment Authorization Document and meet Meritize’s underwriting requirements.

Why we love Meritize

You are more than your credit score. That’s why Meritize Loans look beyond FICO and use previous academic or military achievements to enhance your credit evaluation and potentially improve your loan options.

What else does Meritize consider?

  • Academic History: Share what you’ve learned in school by providing your transcripts or HSE scores.
  • Military Background: Upload your military documents, such as your DD214, if you are a veteran.

Other things we love about Meritize:

  • Check your loan options in minutes without affecting your credit score
  • Fixed and variable interest rates
  • Full deferment available for qualified applicants at Flex Air Flight Training
  • Free Career Services
  • 0.25% interest rate discount with autopay
  • 3-month grace period

How do I apply for a loan?

Applying is easy! Students (or co-signers) can apply online. This takes approximately 15 minutes. Next, you will receive your credit approval. This includes your estimated monthly payment amounts, interest rates, and total number of payments to help select your repayment option. Follow these steps to apply now:

  1. First, complete the application form online for:
    1. California students
    2. Kansas students
  2. Provide requested information. We look forward to seeing you soon at Flex Air!
  3. Once your account is established, you will have login credentials to check in anytime.

What are the loan limits? 

There is a maximum of $106,000 (California) and $103,000 (Kansas). Also, Meritize reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the requested amount.

Looking for additional information?

Check out our most frequently asked questions. Furthermore, Meritize has provided additional information that we’ve found helpful:

Contact information:

Students can call (833) 636-4848 or visit www.meritize.com

 

Are there other loan sources to pursue training for a career as an airline, cargo, or charter pilot?

Yes! Many other lenders support pilot training. For instance, you can contact your personal bank to see if they provide student loans. Similarly, there are certain lenders that offer students loans for specific criteria. In other words, lenders may have residency requirements. We have listed several options below that might work for you.

An additional benefit of these other lenders is flexibility. The loan funds are disbursed directly to you, not Flex Air.

Personal loan, open membership

PenFed Credit Union

  • PenFed Credit Union membership is open to anyone.
  • Personal loan limit is up to $50,000.
Personal loan, open membership

Wings Credit Union

  • Paid in a single disbursement; offers a fixed rate and a predictable monthly payment.
  • 48-, 60-, and 72-month terms available.
  • Membership with a $5 Share Account required.
Flight Training Loan for AOPA members

AOPA Aviation Finance

  • Maximum loan amount: $20,000
  • 7 year maximum to repay, payments begin as soon as funds are disbursed
  • Inquire online or by calling 1-800 -627-5263
AOPA members or Florida residents

We Florida Financial (WeFly)

  • First of all, you must be Florida resident or a member with AOPA.
  • You can borrow up to $30,000.
  • There is a 6-year repayment term.
  • Inquire online or by calling 954-745-2400.
For industry employees

American Airlines Credit Education Loan

  • Must be an eligible member of American Airlines Credit Union
  • American Airlines or air carrier industry employees and their families are eligible.
  • Can borrow up to $40,000.
  • Repayment up to 10 years, payments begin as soon as funds are disbursed through the credit union.
  • Call 1-800-533-0035
Personal loan, open membership

BECU - Boeing Employee Credit Union

  • Formerly the Boeing Employees Credit Union, now a non-profit and open to everyone!
  • Personal loan limit of $30,000
  • Disbursed as one lump sum, payments begin immediately.
Personal loan for military-affiliated

Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union is open to military-affiliated members. Their personal loan limit is up to $50,000.

Personal loan for military-affiliated

USAA

USAA is open to military-affiliated members. Their personal loan limit is up to $50,000.
Alaska residents only

Alaska Supplemental Education Loan (ASEL)

These loans are open to Alaskan residents or someone training in Alaska. Also, you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.

Alaska residents only

Alaska Family Education Loan (FEL)

  • You must be an Alaska resident.
  • Loan limit of $10,000 per year
  • Aggregate limit of $56,000
  • Repayment term: 10 years
  • Students/Family members click here to apply or call 1-800-441-2962
Scholarships and grants for everyone

Are scholarships available for flight school?

YES!

There are numerous organizations that offer scholarships to student pilots. Most scholarship money does not get awarded each year due to a lack of applications. This is especially true for local community scholarships. For instance, service organizations such as Rotary, Lions Club, etc. may offer financial support. Some employers offer scholarships and tuition reimbursement programs. Smart students take the time and diligence to use scholarships for part of their tuition, then use student loans for the remainder.

Our FREE scholarships guide is updated monthly.

What Are the Types of Loans Available for Flight Schools?

Flight school loans are most often private student loans or flight training loans issued by banks and specialized aviation lenders like Meritize and Stratus.

When it comes to aviation training, there are different types of student loans available to finance flight school. These include federal student loans, private student loans, and specific loan options offered by bank and other institutions.

Federal Student Loans for Flight Training

Veterans may be eligible for GI Bill® for flight training. Students participating in joint degree programs with accredited universities may be eligible for federal student loans. You can choose from a range of college-quality lenders AND you can attend college courses through our college flight training programs. Federal student loans typically include flexible repayment terms and low interest rates. The most common type of federal loans includes direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans. These loans are made available to students based on financial need.

Direct Subsidized Loans vs Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Direct subsidized loans are need-based federal loans, where the government covers the interest while the student is still in school. On the flip side, Direct Unsubsidized loans accrue interest from the time of disbursement, which the student is responsible for paying. Both types of loans can help students pay for flight school.

Private Student Loans for Flight Schools

Private student loans for flight training are the most common financing option. Private lenders like offer aviation loans specifically designed for pilot training. These loans often have varying interest rates based on the student's credit score. Flex Air Flight School works with all of the following:

  • Meritize - Many Flex Air Flight Training students apply for and receive student loans from Meritize. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or hold an Employment Authorization Document and meet Meritize’s underwriting requirements. You are more than your credit score. That’s why Meritize Loans look beyond FICO and use previous academic or military achievements to enhance your credit evaluation and potentially improve your loan options.
  • Stratus Financial - Stratus was founded by FAA Certificated Flight and Ground Instructors passionate about helping others achieve their aviation dreams. There is a maximum of $115,000 (California) and $110,000 (Kansas). Also, Stratus reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the requested amount.
  • PenFed Credit UnionPenFed Credit Union membership is open to anyone. The personal loan limit is up to $50,000.
  • Wings Credit Union - Personal loan, open membership. Offers a fixed rate and a predictable monthly payment. 48-, 60-, and 72-month terms available.
  • AOPA Aviation Finance - Must become an AOPA member, but membership is open to all. The maximum loan amount: $20,000
  • We Florida Financial (WeFly) - You must be Florida resident or an AOPA member. You can borrow up to $30,000. There is a 6-year repayment term.
  • American Airlines Credit Education Loan -  Open to eligible member of American Airlines Credit Union, AA or air carrier industry employees and their families are eligible.  The loan limit is $40,000.
  • BECU - Formerly the Boeing Employees Credit Union, now a non-profit and open to everyone. The personal loan limit is $30,000
  • Navy Federal Credit Union - Open to military-affiliated members. The personal loan limit is up to $50,000.
  • USAA - Open to military-affiliated members. Their personal loan limit is up to $50,000.
  • Alaska Supplemental Education Loan (ASEL) - These loans are open to Alaskan residents or someone training in Alaska. Also, you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Alaska Family Education Loan (FEL) You must be an Alaska resident. The loan limit of $10,000 per year with an aggregate limit of $56,000

How to Apply for a Flight School Loan?

The application process for a flight school loan isn't complex. It involves determining your financial need, selecting the best loan options, such as Meritize and Stratus flight school loans, and ensuring your credit score meets the lender's requirements. If eligible, consider federal loans before opting for a private student loan for a flight training.

Financial Need and Credit Score: Key Factors to Loan Approval

Loan approval primarily hinges on demonstrating financial need and having a good credit score. Lenders take into account your personal and family income, the total flight school cost, and other financial commitments. Credit score normally used for determining interest rates and repayment terms.

Understanding Repayment Terms for Flight School Loans

Before you take a loan, understanding its repayment terms is important. Different student loans offer diverse loan terms with variables including interest rates, repayment period, and potential forgiveness options, especially when discussing federal student loans versus private ones.

Exploring Flexible Repayment Options for Aviation School Loans

Flight school loans come with different repayment options, offering flexibility tailored to your financial situation, like Sallie Mae's student loans for flight school. This could mean lower payments initially, with an eventual increase, or a fixed amount throughout the loan term.

How to Determine the Costs for Flight School and Training?

Understanding the costs associated with flight school and training is crucial. From school cost estimation to private pilot training fees, every financial aspect must be taken into consideration.

Estimating the School Cost for Becoming a Pilot

The total school cost to become a pilot can vary greatly based on the chosen training path. Factors such as the type of pilot license (private pilot or commercial pilot), the flight school's location and prestige, and the type of aircraft used during training can all influence the overall costs.

 Want a detailed and personalized estimate? Contact our career mentors for a personalized Training Proposal that will lay out all your school-certified costs of attending Flex Air.

Understanding the Costs Associated with Private Pilot Training

Private pilot training costs can also vary based on several factors, including the duration of the course, the type and condition of aircraft available for training, and instructor rates. Our best advice is to thoroughly research and compare training programs to find the best financial fit.

Additional Financial Aspects of Commercial Pilot Training Programs

Besides the course fee itself, prospective commercial pilots should also consider additional costs such as exam fees, flight gear, and check ride fees. These costs can quickly add up and become a significant part of training financing.

Flight Training Fees: A Key Factor in Training Financing

Flight training fees form a significant portion of the overall cost to get a pilot's license. These include classroom instruction fees, aircraft rental fees, and instructor fees. Future pilots must budget for these expenses while planning their flight training finance.

Exploring Other Financing Options for Flight School

Besides loans, there are other financing options available to pay for flight school, like financial aid, scholarships, grants, and personal financing. Each option has its benefits and limitations, so it's important to thoroughly analyze which alternative is most affordable and beneficial for your circumstances.

More on how to pay for flight school

What are Some Financing Alternatives for Flight Training?

Navigating Federal Financial Aid for Flight Training

If a flight school is accredited, federal financial aid including subsidized and unsubsidized loans and PLUS loans are available which may have lower interest rates and better loan terms than private loans. Besides, these federal loans eligibility isn't predominantly based on credit history.

Considering Personal Finance Options for Pilot Training

If you are hesitant about taking on large loans and confident about your financial capacity, personal finance may be an alternative to consider. Just be aware that paying up front is the alternative banking on your consistent financial stability throughout your training.

Pros and Cons of Using Personal Savings for Flight Training

Using personal savings to pay for flight school might seem tempting as it bypasses interest charges and debt. However, it might deplete a large chunk of your savings leaving you without a safety net in case of emergencies. Weighing these pros and cons carefully is crucial.

Understanding Scholarships and Grants for Aviation Students

There are numerous scholarships and grants available for aspiring pilots, from private organizations to the federal government. While the application process can be competitive, scholarships can significantly reduce flight school cost making it a worthy financing option.

What is the Role of Credit History in Flying School Financing?

The Significance of Your Credit History in Securing a Flight Training Loan

Your credit history plays a crucial role in securing a flight training loan as it signifies your capacity to manage debt. Lenders review credit history and credit score to determine risk in granting loans for flight school. A solid credit history ensures better approval odds and favorable loan terms.

How Credit Scores Affect Interest Rates on Private Student Loans for Flight

A higher credit score generally attracts lower interest rates on private student loans for flight training. It shows lenders that you are creditworthy and pose less risk, thereby securing you better interest rates, ultimately making the flight school loan more affordable in the long run.

Steps to Improve Your Credit Score Before Applying for a Flight School Loan

Before applying for a flight school loan, consider improving your credit score by managing your debts responsibly, paying bills on time, maintaining low credit card balances, and abstaining from applying for new credit. Doing so improves your chances of getting your loan approved with favorable terms.

Managing Loan Repayments to Protect Your Credit History

Successful management of loan repayments dramatically affects your credit history. Any lags in repayment can hurt your credit score while consistent, timely repayments boost it. Leveraging flexible repayment options offered by your lender can help manage these repayments effectively.

Getting a Flight School Loan with Less than Perfect Credit

If your credit history is less than perfect, securing a flight school loan isn't impossible. Lenders like Sallie Mae offer an option of a co-signer which could significantly improve your loan approval chances. Always explore all financial aid and financing options available before committing.

 

Talk with a Flex Air Mentor About Financing

Talk with a Flex Air Mentor About Financing

Your first step into the exciting world of aviation is a conversation with one of our training advisors. We are happy to answer your questions and help chart a course for your goals in aviation.