College VS ATP with GI bill

OK so my husband is an army vet and can use his GI bill for college, we have looked at different colleges and would probably qualify for the Pell grant as well since we have 3 children. We are trying to figure out if the cheapest route to go would be 7 months through ATP or going through a college to get his AAS which includes his private pilot, instrument rating, commercial, multi engine, flight instructor, flight instructor instrument, multi engine instructor. and he would graduate with around 325 hours. Then could work as a flight instructor until he reached the rest of his hours. the program is supposed to be around 18 months. We are trying to come out with the least amount of debt. However we don’t seem to get very many straight answers on what would be the better bet. I know we can’t use GI bill for the ATP program. We would rather spend 2 years getting all the certificates and come out with 20k in debt than 7 months with 90k in debt.


If that’s what you’d rather do then that’s what you should. We’re pilots and only you and your husband know what’s best for you and your family.

That said, while I understand and appreciate your desire to avoid debt, that decision does come with a very real price. Pilots have a finite amount of years they can work. The time delayed will come out of those available years. Senior airline Capts currently earn $400k. That extra year of training, while saving you $70-80k in debt, will cost you a year at that rate (plus benefits, seniority, etc). So while that reduced debt might feel good mentally, it’s actually costing you ALOT of money.

Second I’m curious how many successful airline pilots that college program has produced? Over 1200 ATP grads have been hired in the last 12mos alone (and thousands over the years), including many veterans. Don’t get me wrong, saving money is great but if it doesn’t get you to your goals, that $20k worth of debt will sting much more.

Also, where is your husband going to work to build the hours he needs? ATP hires more instructors than any flight school in the country with over 70 locations. Will the college have a position for him?

Obviously its your decision but if your husband truly wants to fly wouldn’t you want him in the #1 program in the country that creates the highest chance of success?



I am curious, which college program are you looking at? Let me know and I will take a look at it.



??? Please clarify

That is probably because this is a personal choice and both options lead to the same destination. As you’ve said, to get there time and money is the difference. However, every day that passes is one day of potential seniority gained by every other pilot in the pipeline.


Sorry my daughter had gotten ahold of my phone lastnight and must have somehow managed to get into this. :woman_facepalming: We havent chosen a specific program yet just looking at different colleges that have the AAS and program, some can accept the GI bill more than other including using it for PPL since its part of the degree. I’ll have to go back through everything to find out.