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How to Finance Flight School

Wondering how to finance flight school? Getting into flight school is an incredible milestone for someone who has always had the dream of becoming a pilot, as it is the first step towards reaching your ultimate career goal. The next step after being accepted into a program, though, is finding a way to cover the cost of your flight training and education. Since becoming a professional pilot can be a significant financial investment, most flight school students have to seek assistance. 

A quick Google search will yield results of all types of financial institutions offering loans to help students pay for a flight program. Schools themselves may even provide financial assistance for those who qualify. For eligible students, scholarships or other tuition reduction programs can provide a great sense of relief. 

If you are thinking about applying but are wondering how you will pay for it, here are a few options to consider when determining how you can finance flight school. Please note, all students have unique financial situations and will have unique financial plans.



There are scholarships available specifically for students attending flight school – and they do not have to be paid back to the issuer. Rather, a scholarship is a set amount of money that is given to the student to cover the cost of their schooling. 

Although they may sound like a great option for paying for flight school, scholarships are not guaranteed. There are only so many available and there are many students just like you trying to obtain them. 

Most scholarships require you to meet certain criteria and complete an application process that has you competing with other applicants. Oftentimes, the competition can be fierce. 

You may want to consider scholarships a bonus in paying for flight school without relying on them to solely cover the cost. 


Financial Aid 

Some flight schools offer access to federal financial aid to those who qualify can help finance flight school. 

While the financial aid office at the school can help you through the process, one of the first things you need to do is fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will give you an idea of what you are eligible for. 

Below is an overview of what may be available based on your unique financial situation. 



Grants are funds through the federal government that will not need to be repaid. There are different types and different amounts based on qualifications and needs. The most common is a Federal Pell Grant. 



Loans are also available through the federal government. For the most part, these are lower-interest loans with deferred payments until you have either completed your schooling or stopped attending. The type and amount of loan offered will be based on need. 

Stafford loans are the most commonly awarded type of financial aid. Subsidized Stafford loans are awarded based on need with interest being paid by the government while you are in school. An unsubsidized Stafford loan is not based on need nor does the government cover the interest. 


Other Financial Aid Programs

Because the idea is to have students successfully complete their flight program (including paying for it), there are several other financial aid programs available for those who qualify. For instance, resources for families activity military families or veterans, federal work-study and state work-study programs, monthly payment plans, and tuition reduction programs. 

Again, keep in mind that this financial aid is available for those who qualify. The best way to find out what is available to you is to reach out to your school’s financial aid department.  


Tuition Reduction Program

CAU offers a tuition reduction program that lowers the cost of tuition for recent high school graduates who are seeking a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics degree. Known formally as the Reaching New Heights Tuition Reduction Program, qualified applicants will receive a $10,000 reduction in their tuition. 

You may still need to seek alternate options for covering the remainder of the cost, but this lower tuition fee can prove to be very beneficial. 


Private Loans

Private student loans can be used to finance flight school in its entirety, but they are often used by students to fill in the gaps that scholarships and financial aid do not cover. As their name suggests, private loans are those applied for and received through private banking and financial institutions.

Of course, private loans can change all the time. Check with the company for the latest rates and offerings. 


Things to Know About Financing Flight School

Applying for flight school and trying to figure out how you are going to pay for it can leave you with a few important questions. Here are a few last-minute things you should know. 


  • Living on campus does require costs above and beyond regular tuition. When determining the cost of your training, you will want to include the cost of housing and living expenses, too. Funds that you receive through financial aid and private institutions can all be used for helping to cover these costs. 
  • Credit checks are not necessary for federal loans, but if you choose to finance through a private banking institution, your credit score will matter. 
  • You will have some time to get your career going before you will need to start repaying your federal loans. On average, you have about 9 months from graduation before payments will kick in.


Most importantly, do not give up. The cost of flight school can be expensive – just like the cost of any higher education. That does not mean you should let the opportunity pass you by. There are many ways that you can get the funds necessary to complete your program if you do your research. You may even be surprised by what aid you qualify for! 

Do not let your dream of flying pass you by. 


Learn More About Financing Flight School at California Aeronautical University

If you are considering submitting your application for flight school – or you have already applied – learning about financing your training is a crucial step. To learn more about how to finance flight school and the options available to you and as well as the latest rates and offerings, it is best to contact the CAU’s financial aid department. 

Remember, not everyone will qualify for all types of financial assistance, but exhausting all efforts to afford flight school may pay off. 

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