Real Answers from Real Pilots

Financing Tips

This is the most difficult step in my opinion of the ATP process. Any advice would be awesome. With that being said I know that income goes into the decision for the flight loan. But does Sallie Mae or Wells Fargo expect a student trying to take out a flight school loan to really have “good income?”

I plan on using my wife for a cosigner which she has a good credit score but low income since she is in school. Or I could use my dad who has a decent credit score with good income and a long credit history. Can you guys give me any advice. Thank you!!!


Not sure if it’s the most difficult step IN the ATP process, but it can definitely be a big obstacle TO the process. The answer is the lenders know that your income will be taking a hit which is why more times than not they want a co-signer. If it’s more convenient to use your wife you can of course apply with her first, if they say no then you can always go with your dad. If you want a more knowledgeable answer I’d call ATP directly and ask the finance folks but I’m pretty sure they’ll say the same.


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A I just went through this with my dad as my cosignor. He and I both have good credit and good paying jobs but we still didn’t qualify. It was baffling!

I ended up calling into the ATP finance office and asked how people get financed even with good credit and good incomes. They said that I should apply again but for half of what I need. If I get approved, then apply for the second half of the tuition amount 30 days later. I can use the same cosignor too.

I was told that the loans are unsecured and are pretty difficult to get approved because there is nothing that the bank can take from you if you default on the loan. So it’s a high risk loan for Sallie Mae or Wells Fargo to dole out $70K + for anyone but their highest qualified applicants.

I hope that helps.

~ Zeke

Edit note: I did get approved when I applied again and am now in the 30 day waiting period because I am using the same cosignor. If I use a new cosignor, I don’t have to wait the 30 days. Sorry to say, cosignors are hard to come by when talking about $35K loans.


Ezekiel, I to am going through the same issues, I haven’t applied yet due to the simple fact that like you said co-signers are hard to come by. I to wanted to use my wife but we both have BKs under our adult report card and will soon be hitting the seven year mark this Nov. I actually applied last April and obviously didn’t qualify for that reason. It’s such a hard thing to sell even knowing that there is a possibility that you can have that co-signer removed after 1-2 yrs depending who you choose to finance you with all criteria meet of course. I was actually going to call ATP first thing tomorrow to ask questions about the possibility of splitting up the financial obligation for the co-signers cause like you stated, “co-signers are hard to come by when talking about 35k loans.” This is such a relief to hear because to hear 35k vs 70k to tell someone will hopefully make a difference in ones decision in wanting to help. Thank you much for posting this valuable information, this is exactly what I needed to read, good luck to you in your next 30 days and hope for all the best to you.

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Thank everyone for the advice! I have one more question for the financial wizards here…I am currently in school working on my degree and I have been taking out the maximum financial aid ever semester and keeping the rest and putting aside for flight school when that time comes. Even though I don’t use it all for school my thinking is I can accumulate around $20,000-$30,000 so that when I apply at ATP I only need to ask Sallie Mae or Wells Fargo for $50,000ish

I this a good idea or am I hurting my debt to income ratio by doing this?


The financial wizards are at ATP Admin and you’re always best off talking to them. Based on what I know you’re definitely impacting your debt to income ratio if that aid is in the form of loans (if they’re grants that’s something else). Regardless you’ll probably need a co-signer. Again I’d call the pros.


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If you’ve already taken out a 35K loan, what are the chances of you getting approved again 30 days later? Is it gonna happen? @Adam


You really need to call the admissions people to talk about loan applications. They are the experts on such things, we just fly airplanes :slight_smile:


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Sorry for the trouble lol I’ll go bug them for a while now :slight_smile:

No worries, always happy to help when we can.

I wish there was a magic answer to this. I have no options for cosigners in my situation and it seems like ATP is not going to happen.