Real Answers from Real Pilots

Loan Payment Questions

Hey all

I’m currently planning on starting ATP this March, and am looking at loan options. I was accepted by Sallie Mae and they offered a fixed rate of 11.25%. My post graduation monthly payment would be close to $1200. Did anyone have a similar situation? Was the post graduation payment manageable? Any advice? All responses are welcomed and appreciated!

-Hunter

Hi Hunter,

Am near finishing my program, I selected the Sallie Mae payment that offered the $25/mo. payment, to get a lower rate. There was recently another posting about loan repayment (How to Pay Back the Loan). After I fully am vested in my career and signed, I plan to refinance to get a lower interest rate. Mine is well near 12.35%, with a cosigner…it’s nuts! I argued with Sallie Mae and they wouldn’t negotiate anything better with me, I even used some of my previous financial experience with underwriting lenders.

Brady

Hunter,

First and foremost congrats on your decision. There’s really no better first step towards a career in aviation.

As for the loan I know many people like Brady look to refinance as soon as they’re more stable and fine themselves in a better position. It’s also possible to defer your payments for a while until you have more income (but you will of course incur much more interest). Also if when hiring starts up again, I’m certain we’ll be looking at Tuition Reimbursements again (though no one knows quite when?).

As for the payments being able that entirely depends on you and your personal situation. If you’re living at home with min expenses it’s obviously easier than if you’ve got a family of 4, a mortgage and car payments.

Adam

Hunter,

My loan with SM was 9.125%. I started receiving Tuition Reimbursement as a CFI and that made a huge difference. I refinanced my loan during my second year at Horizon down to 5%.

Tory

1 Like

Hunter,
A few things to keep in mind, you get a good grace period after you graduate from atp before you have to start paying it off (I think mine was 3 months but you may be able to extend it to 6). During that time try saving as much your income as possible to prepare. At the time, I had tuition reimbursement programs as an option so that helped but hopefully by the time you graduate those programs will be an option again. That would entirely cover your loan payment. But if not, find atp locations with instructor openings with low cost of living and maybe live with a few other instructors or in the atp housing to keep costs down. It’s tight but manageable. Once you’re a little more settled try to refinance to get that interest rate down. I’m in the process of that now and know some of my peers who got it as low as 3%.

-Hannah

Hunter,

You will certainly not be eating steak dinners every night, but it is manageable. Have you spoken with Kirk in Financing about ways to reduce the payments?

Chris