Loan Repayment/Living

I am new to the student loan process for technical or certificate based programs. I have my private pilots license already. I am planning to enroll into ATP this year i contacted Wells Fargo and Salliemae. Salliemae quoted me at 900 dollars a month but i was informed that was them quoting me at the max interest rate possible. My overall question to anyone doing this program and becoming an Instructor do you start paying when you get your instructor job or is it after your 1500 hours are reached. Also what did your monthly payments look like and were you able to basically survive making loan payments, rent, groceries, gas and other bills. It’s a big loan to take out i know the payoff is amazing and its hard work I’m just trying to get a better grasp of the number breakdown. Thanks for any advice or help that can be offered.

1 Like


Loan payments are deferred until you become a CFI. Interest, however, is accrued immediately.

I’m not going to sugar coat anything. Living off CFI pay was hard. Doable, but hard. I lived in ATP housing. ATP offers housing to CFIs for a discount. That helped a lot.

I then signed up for the Tuition Reimbursement program with Horizon Air at 900 hours. I could have interviewed at 500 hours, but Horizon wasn’t offering assistance at that time and I wasn’t interested in interviewing anywhere else. Regardless, the reimbursement covered about 75% of my monthly loan payment. So, I was able to break even every month until I was hired by Horizon.


I appreciate the response I’d rather have the real truth rather than sugar coating anything when Salliemae called as i said they quoted me at like 900 a month, I was told by an ATP finance agent that she was quoting me at the max interest rates but most likely my payments will not be that high and with the tuition reimbursement I wont be making that whole payment alone. However, Salliemae didn’t give me any options like I’ve read on here about not paying till after 1500 hours or only paying interest for 24 months. I don’t know if maybe I’ll get all the options when my cosigner also applies and then they come back to me with the guidelines for my loan. I just need to make sure while I’m an instructor I’m not living off ramen noodles and oreos. Just wanting to grasp the money aspect because it is such a big step and process.

Ramen noodles and Oreos can be rather tasty. In all seriousness though, life as a CFI will be tight, but manageable. Think about it, banks would not issue loans if they thought that there would be issues with students paying them back. The good news is that Tuition Reimbursement can really help defray this, I highly recommend taking advantage of this program.


Appreciate the feedback everyone yes I figure it will be tight I’m still at my current job to save money to last me 6 months while I’m down there I’ll be in Daytona. Always helps to just hear how other students or even instructors were able to get buy paying all those bills and loans back at one time. Now I haven’t had my cosigner fill out the application yet. To the best of anyone’s knowledge do you know off the top of your heads what the repayment options are like i read some let you defer or wait till after your 1500 hours. My mom is an accountant and most likely the Co-signer and shes a big numbers person ha ha. So I’m trying to get her as much info as possible to present to her.


If your mother is an accountant she could offer you the options better than any of us. The banks will let you defer (I didn’t start till my first year at a Regional), pay interest only, whatever you like. Just know the interest will keep accruing and you’ll end up paying much more in the long run.



accountant in a loose sense she just does the books for a law firm and yes that’s all i needed was just general info on when the payments started and how everyone was able to make it through all the expenses thank you all very much.


There’s no question unless you come from wealth this will require some sacrifice. Ramen diet, coupon clipping, no nights out, buying used tires, deferring payments, it takes whatever it takes. When Chris and I started the salaries were literally half what they are now so I’m a little less sympathetic but it’s still tough. What’s important is (at least IMHO) is it’s all worth it. I literally have my dream job and get paid very well for doing something most people pay to do.


If you’re eating ramen noodles and nabisco oreos you’re doing ok.

Ramen noodles and tuxedos…that’s rough.