Financing During COVID-19 Market Recession?

I’m hoping to start at Lawrenceville in early June (I’ve enrolled, payed the deposit, set start date, etc.), but am having more trouble than I anticipated getting approved for financing. I have good credit but work for a non-profit and don’t make much, so my application w/o co-signer was denied. My first co-signer has excellent credit, but was denied due to lack of sufficient income for a 97k loan. I have two other family members who have agreed to co-sign, but am worried that they will be denied for the same reason. I don’t know their exact income in comparison to my first co-signer, so it’s hard to say. I’m very blessed to have multiple family members who are willing to co-sign on such a massive loan for me, but I come from a lower middle class family without significant income/assets.

As of right now, my next step is to try again with a different co-signer, but I’m really worried about my chances of approval in current market conditions. This is a very unique and awkward time to be applying for a sizable loan. I’ve been trying to weigh out my options and am torn trying to decide if it’d be better to apply now, or wait it out another month to see if market conditions improve at all? I want to make sure I’m optimizing my application for the highest chance of approval since I’m at a disadvantage. Has anyone gotten a financing application approved recently since the market’s taken a downturn?

I’ve given notice at my job and have moved to a new city so that I’m closer to the flight school. My start date is fast approaching, and financing is the last (and most important) box I need checked off to begin training. Delaying training is the last thing I want to do, but I’ll do whatever is necessary to get in the cockpit.

I’ve talked to Kirk from the financial department, and he’s been very helpful, but I’d also love to hear from anyone on this forum who might be able to provide some insight or tips.

TIA. Amanda

Update: I just had a detailed conversation with Kirk (thank you Kirk!) from ATP’s financial department again for the first time in a few weeks. Sharing what I learned in case there’s anyone else on this forum in the same boat as me who could benefit from the info. All in all, I’ve been way over-thinking this!

He said that as of right now, Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo have NOT changed their underwriting criteria since the market took a downturn. Their interest rates have also lowered to around 2%, which is the lowest it’s been in about 10 years. What this means is that now is an optimal time to apply, because the interest rates are low and chances of approval have not changed.

I’m going to get the ball rolling on moving forward with my other co-signers today. Will update soon, and hopefully with good news!


This was very helpful, I am going to call Sallie Mae now about that 2%!

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Best of luck, Bobby!

Is that 2% a variable or fixed rate?

Any luck getting that rate down? I have a start date next month at PDK and Sallie Mae set up already. I was planning to call and see if they would reduce my fixed rate. Sure wish I had sought the variable rate looking back now!

Keep in mind that variable is just that, it can go up when things turn around.

Any chance you are related to a Quigley that flys for United?


If I’m not mistaken, I believe they’ll make an offer for a variable or fixed rate if your application is accepted. 2% is the lowest interest rate offer you could receive, but that’s only for the most creditworthy and qualified applicants.


Have you tried any scholarships? Your story sounds like a winner to me. There is one being offered right now through a Women’s Aviation foundation. I just saw it not too long ago and remember your application needs to be submitted before April 30th.


Hi Jeremy,

Wow, thank you so much for the tip! I’ll be looking in to that today. I’ve tried searching for scholarships, but haven’t been able to find any that are eligible for a certificate program. It’s very possible that I wasn’t looking in the right places.

It looks like the 2% is only if you choose the variable interest rate option, and 4.74% is still the lowest fixed rate option (unchanged since Feb 2020).

I started another application to try to get something lower, but just cancelled it because Sallie Mae would have to cancel my current approved application to process the new one.

I am not feeling like tempting fate here considering they haven’t changed the advertised fixed rate (that’s the option I would choose), and I don’t want to lose my prior approved loan.

I was just approved for financing through Sallie Mae!!! Y’all, I’m so incredibly happy and relieved. Now I just need to knock these writtens out!



That is great news! Congratulations!!!


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4.74% is pretty darn low for an un-secured loan.


Probably a good call on canceling the second application. I was thinking about doing the same and then realized I didn’t want to take a chance of messing up what was already in place with my start date coming so quickly. I was up at LZU today taking FIA exam and noticed all the aircraft from PDK had been shifted up that way. COVID related from what I could gather so we may end up crossing paths on the tarmac this summer. Best of luck.

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Great news for sure. Congrats!