Prospective aircraft mechanic students can meet all the FAA knowledge and experience requirements for aircraft mechanic licensing, with one to two years of training in any of over 170 FAA Part 147 certified aviation maintenance schools. At a typical aircraft mechanic school, tuition and other expenses might be $15,000 to $35,000 once all the required coursework for FAA certification is completed. Room and board alone often is in the range of $8,000 to $10,000 per year.
So how is one to finance this debt? Scholarships and financing plans are usually made available at most aircraft mechanic schools. Nearly all students receive some sort of financial aid, and sometimes up to 2/3 of students receive either a scholarship or a grant. Often, in excess of 90% of the students receive a loan, usually in the range of $5,000 to $15,000.
Technical college students, who are seeking student loans, need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available online. The FAFSA document is the starting point, allowing a determination of what student loans one is able to qualify for, in addition to grants that could be available, based upon your financial need. You can complete the application for free at the FAFSA website. When considering loan financing, it is very important to make sure you are attending a federally accredited institution. This can be checked at “The Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions” website ope.ed. From this database, one can determine if an aircraft mechanic school is accredited, and the date of accreditation.
Some financial aid opportunities include Federal Pell Grants, Federal Stafford Loans, Alternative Student Loans, Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), and also Veteran’s Training.
Stafford Loans and PLUS Loans, which are usual in a higher education degree program, are generally not offered in a trade school environment, including most aircraft mechanic schools. This is a problem, and some alternative student loan programs, tailored to trade schools, have been devised. Often, private student loans have been used. These loans are needed when federal loans fall short of covering the costs of education.
Some lenders have come up with a new form of private student loan, or a “Technical Student Loan,” that is specifically for students at trade or technical schools. Technical school loans have high loan limits and repayment plans which are very flexible, similar to many of the more traditional private loans. Sallie Mae has a Career Training Smart Loan which is a useful, very practical product for trade school students. The Career Training Smart Loan enables applicants to apply with a co-borrower if necessary, borrowing up to the full cost of an aircraft mechanic program, including all related expenses. The student borrower can benefit from flexible repayment terms and flexible interest rates. Purchase of special equipment, and aircraft mechanic tools, is also allowed under “related expenses.”
Some requirements for obtaining a Career Training Smart Option Student Loan are:
- You must be a United States citizen or a qualifying permanent resident.
- The school you attend must be licensed by the Department of Education in the state where it is located.
- The lender may also have strictly upheld additional requirements.
- The terms of your loan and interest rate, will also be based on your credit rating.
Private student loans are very different from federal student loans in an important regard: your credit score and history are important when evaluating a loan. If you have poor credit, and are trying to borrow using a private trade school loan, you need to apply with a co-signer, willing to help you, who has good credit. A useful, free service to check your credit score is at quizzle.com.
Your aircraft mechanic school requires you complete some entrance counseling, generally with a website specific to the school you attend. Start a dialog with your financial aid counselor at your school. Most technical schools require that you complete some form of entrance counseling before they become willing to release the funds from your student loan as payment for your aircraft mechanic school expenses. The counseling covers important loan information, as well as your responsibilities in paying it back once you are out of the program. In most cases you can choose your lender during your counseling session, as well as electronically signing a master promissory note agreeing to pay back your loan money.
Each aircraft mechanic school handles how they award and dispense student loans somewhat differently; this is why it’s important to talk to your financial aid counselor! Possibly, additional steps are required post-loan processing, so be sensitive to the requirements at your specific school.