Can I use unemployment during training?

Hey all,

I was wondering if anyone utilized state unemployment benefits during part or all of their training (or if that’s even possible). I’m close to separating from the Army, and seriously considering pulling the trigger on ATP, but concerned about financing while trying to provide for a family.

A different option I’m looking at is to, as I’ve seen some say in the forums, take out a loan slightly higher than the cost of admissions to live on. Has this route been successful for anyone else out there?

I’m tracking my GI Bill won’t make much of a dent overall, so my tentative plan is to hang on to it for now. Thanks for the help!



The laws on unemployment vary from state to state but I do believe there are some that will allow it. You need to contact your state and see.


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I went through the program 2014-15. I added a stipend to my loan. It was $1200/mo. I made $20k/yr as a CFI. $65k/yr as a regional new hire. $110k/yr during my last year as a regional captain. My student loan will be paid off by next year.



Is there anything you’d have done differently, looking back now? Was it hard on the family at first? Thanks for the quick reply.


ATP has students of all ages and varying backgrounds. Each situation is different.

I am only recently married. Our son is only 15mo. My wife is a teacher. Between the two of us we do fine. Before that my expenses were low. I rented with roommates and I never carried a credit card balance.

For me, I could have saved more. I could have also chosen to pay $25/mo during the program to reduce my monthly payment after. I could have also explored all of my loan options. I used Sallie Mae. I did not apply with any other lenders.

While this doesn’t have to do with finances, I would have also completed as many of the written exams before starting the program to lighten my load. Get Ahead By Taking FAA Knowledge Tests Before Starting ATP / ATP Flight School


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It definitely was for me. I had a wife, 3 kids, a dog, mortgage, and car payments and we all had to sacrifice.

Thing is the situation has gotten SOOOO much better! First when I started you were lucky if you even got an interview and now the airlines are fighting over bodies. First year pay was less than $20k, now it’s $90k! Finally with the hiring bonuses being offered over $100k you could pay off your loans almost immediately.

To me this is a no brainer!



Hi Judah,

I just wanted to hop on here and mention that my family and I are in a similar boat. And I do believe this is a great question, I hadn’t even thought about unemployment benefits. I am based in Texas and based on my research, I wouldn’t be able to draw unemployment benefits for quitting my job to pursue this. Your state may be different and it may be different due to your circumstances, I would definitely look into it.

We will likely take out a loan higher than cost of admissions, it works. I did this in college and so did my wife. It allowed us to pay for living expenses like rent and food. And based on my research, this has been successful for many people that have gone through ATP or other schools!

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Hi Alex,

I’m currently tracking that some states allow for unemployment benefits for training programs, but I’ve yet to hear back about the eligibility requirements from my state’s DOL. Also, I’m not trying to go back to my home state, so there’s another layer of uncertainty to add to the mix. Anyway, thanks for your input!

Similar to my boat! My wife isn’t working currently. I’m paying the mortgage and everything with my current job. Obviously we’d need to make some changes but hearing about the bonuses available now, I’m more encouraged at the possibility. I was really worried about surviving the loan repayment!


Anytime it comes to finances, we always recommend reaching out to Kirk on the finance team, he knows best, 904-595-7946. When it comes to financing, you can factor in a monthly expense which is a limit of $800 but can be reviewed for higher if you need more.