Real Answers from Real Pilots

Financially stuck

I have 2 big dreams right now that I want more than anything:
-Buying my own home (Tiny or very small- I am just going slightly insane living with my parents, but want to save money by living here instead of getting an apartment before I can afford my own home.)
-Getting my pilot’s license

I recently graduated from college (I’m 22) and am interning at a healthcare company making $15/hr. My family keeps bugging me to get a full-time job, but I don’t want to commit to something when I know I want to become a pilot soon.
The thing is I have $15,000 in the bank and am waiting to see if I got a scholarship to get my private pilot’s license. On one hand I want to spend that money on a down payment for a house and on the other hand I just want to go ahead and start flying already!
I just feel really stuck and torn between these two dreams. I know I can get a loan for the training, but feel like I should maybe mitigate the cost by waiting on scholarships to come through.
Could someone just give me their own perspective on what they would do in my situation? I am super frustrated and want to get un-stuck. Thank you :slight_smile:

Jennie,

These are grown up decisions and no one can tell you what’s best for you. I’m not aware of any scholarships that will pay for all your flight training so either a loan or a full time job is probably in your future. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard the old adage “give a man a fish…”. If you’re looking for advice you might find the answer in there.

Adam

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Jennie,

There are almost no scholarships available for aviation, I would be absolutely shocked if you are able to get one and absolutely mystified if it was of substantial enough size to cover all of your training. If I were you, I would plan on paying for all training myself (either out of pocket or through a loan) and just count my blessings if any scholarships came through. I certainly would not plan on receiving any.

As to your dreams, which are both good goals, sometimes life is a game of patience and positioning yourself well. If you want to be a pilot, it really does not make any sense for you to buy a home when you have no idea which airline you might work for or where you will be based. Also, while it is a sizeable amount of money, $15k is nowhere near enough for a down payment on a house.

You really need to take a look at your goals and figure out which one is more important to you. If owning a home as soon as possible is your first priority, then find a job that utilizes your existing education and hopefully pays better. If becoming a pilot is your top priority, then I would push the home owner dream to the back burner for awhile, take out a loan and start your flight training as soon as possible.

Chris

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Great advice, Chris!

To be a little more clear:
I am thinking of building a tiny home (you know the ones you build on a trailer and can bring/live anywhere?) which is less expensive, but I still agree I don’t have enough saved.

As for scholarships- there actually are a good amount of scholarships available (especially for women in aviation because of the push to increase the 5:95 ratio of female:male pilots.) The one I just applied for is the I Hart Flying Foundation for $5,000 towards a private pilot rating. There is also another one coming up in the spring for $6,000 towards a private pilot rating from the 99ers. WIA (not just for women!) offers scholarships for everything from private to ATP scholarships that are between $250- over $10,000.
So, I know none of these will cover the entirety of my training (which I’m not expecting them to) I just think maybe I should try to get one or two of these before starting so I can limit the amount of debt I take on.

To Chris’ point- I do agree that life is a game of patience and I know how to be patient. My family, on the other hand, does NOT and doesn’t seem to take my dream of becoming a pilot seriously. The job I’m in now allows me to work from home and make my own hours which would allow me to keep it while getting my private pilot’s certificate (& then quit to join ATP full-time). However, if I were to take on a full-time job, it would be more difficult to complete on the side and would look really bad to leave 6 months or less in.

Jennie,

Good luck with the scholarships, I hope that you get them.

Your family members are more than welcome to come join the discussion on this forum. But at your age, you really do not need their blessing to continue down the career path of your choice.

Chris

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Jennie,

I wanted to jump into the conversation here and give you some suggestions as to how this should likely play out for you from a financial standpoint.

You have certainly done your homework on the scholarships that are available to pilots trying to get their licenses and get started in a career. With the scholarships that you listed above, you might have somewhere between 10k and 20k coming your way, which certainly will reduce the overall expenditure of the licenses, but will not likely change your ability to finance the rest of the costs of the training program, or help you make a decision on buying a house now or not.

The pilots who have responded to you so far are correct in that you should reduce your outside debt and responsibilities in order to maintain geographic and financial flexibility while you are getting started in your career and determining where you will be based and what a feasible monthly budget will look like.

Your largest hurdle right now is going to be getting someone on board to cosign on a loan with you in order to do flight training with us. 90% of students need someone to cosign with them on their loan, due to the fact that flight training does not carry any collateral like a car or a house does. I understand that this is a very difficult conversation to have with someone, so we want to give you the best possible resources for getting someone on board to help you with this.

The following link is a page on our website with valuable information for potential co-signers.

http://www.atpflightschool.com/financing/cosigner-prospectus.html

It outlines the benefits of doing flight training here at ATP and what the specific requirements and responsibilities are for someone who co-signs with you.

The beneficial part of the prospectus is the cosigner release, which details the criteria that allow your cosigner to be released from the application.

To make it easier for you to find, I have included links to both Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo’s cosigner release pages so you can highlight this information for someone who might have reservations about helping you with this:

https://www.wellsfargo.com/student/cosigner

As always please give us a call back if any further questions arise. My direct number in the finance department here at ATP is 904-595-7946.

With respect,

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