- Check your credit score
- Get prequalified
- Compare lenders
- Gather necessary documents
- Apply and get funding
1. Check your credit score
You should know your credit score before applying for a flight school loan. Your credit score will affect both your eligibility for certain loans as well as the interest rates you’ll be charged. The better your score, the better the interest rates you’re liable to be offered. Knowing your credit score will also help you filter lenders as you shop.
It’s common for students to have little credit history and struggle to qualify for credit. If this applies to you, know that flight school loans for bad credit do exist. Some credit unions and banks offer loans designed for students in trade school programs, some specifically for flight school.
Having a cosigner with a strong credit profile, like a parent or trusted friend, can also help you qualify for a better flight school loan.
2. Get prequalified
When you apply for prequalification, you’ll typically submit to a soft credit check with a lender. You’ll need to provide basic information about your financial situation, such as your income, monthly housing cost and any savings.
Using this information, lenders will determine whether you meet private student or personal loan requirements and the types of terms they may offer you. Getting a preview of loan terms can help you choose between several different lenders.
How do I find lenders?
In addition to reaching out to local banks and credit unions, you can also find lenders online. LendingTree is an online loan marketplace that allows you to see personal loan offers from multiple lenders, depending on your eligibility.
3. Compare lenders
Once you prequalify with a few lenders, you should compare flight school loan terms to determine which loan offer is the best for your needs.
- APR: The annual percentage rate (APR) takes interest charges and certain fees into account to determine the overall cost of borrowing. A lower APR means that the loan will cost you less in interest and fees over the loan term.
- Repayment terms: A shorter repayment period means higher monthly payments but lower interest charges. A longer term can make payments more affordable, but it can also cost you far more in the long term.
- Loan amounts: Remember to only borrow what you need and can reasonably repay.
- Fees: Origination fees are common among personal loans and can reduce the amount you receive. Prepayment penalties, meanwhile, punish you for early repayment.
- Borrower protections: While not all lenders offer them, features like unemployment protection or forbearance for enrolled students can help keep your account in good standing when you’re in a financial pinch.
Once you’ve selected a lender that meets your borrowing needs, it’s time to move forward in the application process.
4. Gather necessary documents
When you’re ready to formally apply with a lender, make sure you have all necessary documents handy to expedite the loan application process.
Required documents may include:
- Proof of identity, such as your passport or driver’s license
- Recent bank statements
- Tax forms like W-2s, 1099s and/or pay stubs
- Debt information, which may include credit cards and other student loans
5. Apply and get funding
Once you’ve compared loan terms and have your paperwork ready, it’s time to formally apply. Many lenders offer online applications, allowing you to apply and upload documentation within minutes. During the loan application process, you’ll have to submit to a hard credit check, which will affect your credit score.
It can take anywhere from a few hours to a week or more to receive a loan decision. The speed with which you get your decision and loan funds will depend on the lender.
Once approved, most lenders will disburse your funds within a few hours or business days. Electronic deposit is the fastest way to get funds.