Flight School Financing – International Students

Each year we welcome hundreds of international student pilots who want to become commercial pilots. However, many students who inquire cannot afford the cost of tuition for flight training. With the growing pilot shortage, job security for pilots is at an all-time high. However, the average training cost of $70,000 can be a challenge for many students. The rewards of becoming a commercial airline pilot are great, especially considering that training typically occurs in less than a year, and the average pay for commercial airline pilots well exceeds $100,000. The pay, job security, and thrill of flying make a career in aviation a good investment in your future.

Ideally, students and/or their families can save the tuition needed to cover training, materials, and housing while living in the U.S. and attending flight school. Currently, there are no U.S. lenders to provide student loans for international flight students. Below are suggestions to help you find the financial support you need to pursue your flight training in the U.S.

  • Loans – Contact banks and other lending agencies in your country to learn their requirements. Depending on your country, your personal credit score, and other factors, you may be able to secure a loan for flight school. If your credit history is not as good as it could be, take steps to do credit repair now before applying for a loan.
  • Wells FargoA Wells Fargo Collegiate® student loan may help you pay for the costs associated with your professional and commercial flight training program.(1) Eligible students may receive:

    • No payments until you graduate or leave school (2)

    No application, origination, or early repayment fees

    • Competitive fixed or variable interest rate options

    Funds up to the cost of education minus other financial aid (3)

    A quick and easy application process

    •Wells Fargo’s best-in-class service from initial application through the last payment

    A cosigner may help you qualify for a private student loan and potentially get a lower interest rate but is not required to apply.

    Borrowers may request an aviation internship forbearance that would temporarily postpone monthly payments while completing their flight training hours (4). Individuals qualifying for the aviation internship forbearance are able to postpone monthly payments up to 24 months after completing school.

    When it comes to financing your education, be sure to look at all of your options – including grants, scholarships, and loans from all sources – and make careful comparisons among all your choices. If you determine that a private student loan is right for you, we can provide loans to help meet the needs of nearly every student.

    For more information you can call 1-877-451-5039 or visit wellsfargo.com/student/collegiate-loans/

    1. Wells Fargo private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information and, if applicable, a self-certification form, the school’s certification of loan amount, and the student’s enrollment at a Wells Fargo-participating school.

    2. Students are not required to make payments while in school; repayment begins 6 months after you graduate or leave school. The maximum in-school period is 7 years after the date of first disbursement. Interest accrues during any deferment periods, including the in-school period, and is capitalized to the loan upon entering repayment.

    3. Loan amount is dependent on the loan product, other financial aid, creditworthiness, and other factors. Aggregate and annual loan limits apply. The cost of attendance is determined and certified by the educational institution.

    4. Interest continues to accrue during any forbearance period and will be capitalized to the account upon entering repayment.

  • Grants and Scholarships – There may be government or non-government organizations (NGOs) in your country that offer educational support. These could be international civic and service organizations, such as Rotary, Lions, Chamber of Commerce, etc. There are many organizations like this; you just need to take the time to research and apply. Women in Aviation International and the Ninety-Nines both offer scholarships for female student pilots. Many students are resourceful in finding grants within their communities.
  • Tuition Reimbursement – With the pilot shortage, many U.S. airlines are offering tuition reimbursement for flight training in return for your commitment to fly for them for a minimum number of years. We encourage you to research the airlines in your country to see which ones are offering tuition reimbursement plants.
  • Credit Cards – Although this is not the best route, some students and/or their families have paid for training use credit cards. Chances are, if you have a credit card with a high limit, you are probably eligible for a bank loan at a better interest rate.
  • Airline Training Programs – Again, due to the pilot shortage, some airlines have their own flight training programs that require a commitment from you to be employed as a pilot for a minimum number of years. Check the airlines in your country to see if any of them offer such a program.
  • Aviation Loans – Research aviation loans in your country. For example, Colombia Finance offers aviation loans to residents of Colombia.

We understand that you are eager to pursue your dream of becoming a professional pilot. However, sometimes the financial challenges mean you have to wait just a little longer before starting. Don’t let that discourage you. Many of our students have worked and saved over a period of years in order to come here to train. Others have had help from their families. We understand the financial hardships this can create, so we try to help from every possible perspective. One step we have taken is the creation of the Epic Virtual Flight Academy, which allows students to do preliminary training online before arriving at flight school. This is one way to help reduce costs.

We are here to help and look forward to welcoming you someday soon to make your dreams a reality! Don’t let the cost of training stand in the way of your dreams. Make a plan, stick to it, and soon you’ll be flying every day!

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso