Real Answers from Real Pilots

Sallie Mae Financing

I’m looking to go to ATP full-time. I have a PPL and would enter the Airline Pilot Career Program. I would need to finance my training. My FICO is not the best (688) but varies quite a bit between creditors, Equifax being the highest. I am employed though and am salaried at about $165,000 per year, and would still go to ATP full time as I only work 3 days a week as a first responder. Would I still need a cosigner? Reason I ask is because I perused this forum and saw posts from people saying they were denied with 800+ FICO scores. 800 is perfect, less than 1% of the population has a FICO of 800+. I been hearing Sallie Mae has relaxed their borrowing requirements a bit.

David,

You really need to speak with Kirk in finance (call+1 904-595-7950) as he’s the expert. That said if your score is below 700 you very well may need a co-signer. These loans are unsecured and therefore are the requirements are stricter.

Adam

Thanks! I figured my income would be a foot in the door. I’ll give him a call tomorrow!

I was approved today with a cosigner

1 Like

Great news! Today is an exciting day!

Tory

Congrats! That’s great! When are you thinking of starting?

Adam

David,
Congrats! That’s the first big hurdle for many starting the ATP program. Next up, schedule that intro flight and tour. (I believe you get the intro flight for free since you are pre-approved for the loan)

-Hannah

Thanks! I’m looking at starting the September/October timeframe in Long Beach as I am home ground-schooling instrument and commercial right now. Going to go upgrade my Class II to a Class I medical. Got my PPL in the DA-40 in Long Beach, so I am familiar with the Airport as well as all the SoCal airspace.

David,

Are you planning on doing the Fast Track program or the Flex Track? Even only working three days per week, I would not recommend the Fast Track option. It is a full time program, taking three days out of your schedule per week will not allow you sufficient time for studying, flying, and sleep. If you are planning on working, you need to do the Flex Track program.

Chris

I will be taking an extended time off from work as I have saved several thousand hours of vacation time. 6 months off. I will be fully devoted to the program as I am going to transition from my current career to be an airline pilot.

David,

Good to hear, I just wanted to check and make sure on that one.

Chris

Yes indeed. I got my PPL in 3 weeks while I was working. Talking about being exhausted! Studying before hand made it possible.

David,

Congratulations on your finance approval! Keep in mind when coming in with a PPL, we require that you have 78 TT with 8 of those hours as XC PIC.

We look forward to having you start with us next month!

Addison

David,

Sounds like you’re on your way to a new journey! Getting a head start on the instrument will give you an advantage, if you’re taking the writtens early, be sure to take both the IRA and FII together.

Brady

I am thinking about attending ATP Flight School within 9 months from now and bring a full time student. I would need a Sallie Mae loan of $107,000 dollars to finance the whole thing. I only have one Bank of America credit card with a credit line of $1,000 dollars, but I will have 7 to 8 months of good solid credit history by the time I apply for the loan since I just started to use the credit card right now. I do not have a creditworthy cosigner to apply with me. I must apply and get approved individually. However, I would only use 3 to 4 percent of my available credit each month and my estimated FICO Score should be at a minimum of 715 and up. Will this be able to greatly increase the chances of my loan application getting approved. I have already called Kirk at ATP Finance Department and Sallie Mae, and they said they do a hard credit check focusing only on TransUnion and FICO, without bending the rules.

I’m afraid you’ll probably need a cosigner. I had 8 years if credit history, score around 750, only a car loan of about $5K, no student debt. Credit card line if up to $10,000, but that doesn’t really play too much into it. Decent assets for someone fresh out of college for the past ten years.

I needed my dad to cosign.

There may be some way, but I wouldn’t count on it. It’s very common to need a cosigner for this huge loan.

William,

I was working full-time at a financial institute making a good amount of money for a 23-year-old, when I applied with a decent credit score, they still wanted a co-signer. The reason they want a co-signer is because they’re lending you 6-digit figures and trust that they will receive payment once your schooling is completed. I fought with Sallie Mae for weeks to approve of my loan all because my co-signer changed job industries and we couldn’t verify income for the year…just talk to them and see what they are willing to work with.

Brady

William,

I suspect that you will need a co-signer. However, make sure to talk to Kirk, you might get through without one. It is worth applying.

Chris

I have already talked with Kirk for more than once, and he said that if I didn’t have credit history, I would need a cosigner. Since I would have 7 to 8 months of credit history by the time I apply, I do not need a cosigner, and I also don’t have one. My plan is to borrow $50,000 dollars from Sallie Mae and another $50,000 dollars from Meritize, and that adds up to $100,000 dollars. I should also have a couple thousand to $10,000 dollars myself as well. Sallie Mae only uses TransUnion, while Meritize only uses Equifax, and the two bankers should only assume I only applied for $50,000, which the amount is not too extensive. Another solution is that if I apply for a loan of $40,000-$50,000 dollars with Sallie Mae, begin school first, pay an interest of $25 dollars a month, and after two months into flight training, I will apply for another $50,000 dollars loan with either Sallie Mae or Meritize. Do you think that is a good idea or not?

William

William,

While it seems you’re off to a great start, it actually takes considerable longer than 7-8mos to develop the kind of credit history the lenders would be looking for. What you need to understand is this loan is unsecured meaning there’s no collateral for you to borrow against. If you buy a car or a house and can’t make the payments, the bank can take either back and recoup some of their losses. In this case there’s nothing tangible to provide the bank with any security to make them feel warm and fuzzy. While I’m certain you have full intentions of repaying the loan, the lender will want to see a history of you doing so for years before they’re willing to take a chance on you going solo, hence the need for co-signer.

Adam