Can anyone point me into a direction to seek grants for pilot training (rotorcraft)? I have a Sallie Mae career training loan but was only given 30k of the 50k I need. I am a working adult in a career training program but not degree program, so FAFSA is not really an option. Thanks in advance for any information.
I did look into that, but to get into helicopter training for military (Army) you have to enter warrant officer school. With that you have to be under 30 and have 60 credit hours of college. I am 32 and have 45 hours.
Unfortunately, the only grants I know of are through Whirly Girls, and it’s only for women. I have never known anyone who paid for their training with grants, so even if it is possible, it is uncommon. I’ll copy the answer I usually give to people when they ask about financing training, and it may or may not be helpful. Your best bet is to spend some time on the forums of the helicopter websites listed at the bottom to see if anyone else has had a similar experience. Vertical Reference is particularly well suited to "newbies".
If you haven’t started yet or are just getting started, you may want to think about pausing your training until you can be assured that you will be able to finance all of the training. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck in the middle.
The bottom line is that funding your training is very very difficult, and there is no sure fire easy way to do it. Be very careful before you take out a loan and make sure you understand the terms of the loan so you don’t get screwed.
You should expect to spend in excess of $60,000. Please avoid the schools that make grand promises about how easy it is to be a pilot and how wonderful it is and then want full payment for their entire program up front. Most schools allow you to pay as you go. The financing possibilities are few and far between, and incurring such a large debt has risks. You should plan carefully and do your homework before sacrificing your financial security. It is sometimes better to work hard and save up to pay for training rather than getting a loan.
Here are some financing ideas to investigate:
These two offer loans for training, but they may not be adequate to cover the entire cost, especially in a helicopter. I also understand that their interest rates are rather high:
Sallie Mae offers student and career loans. Check if your flight school is set up with them:
Also look for aviation college programs like Utah Valley State College. You train at a flight school of your choice while doing UVSC’s online classes. You don’t need an aviation degree to be a pilot, but you may have better financing options through them:
Finally, some time ago "Av8trxx" posted this answer to a question about financing. I don’t know if any of those would be useful for helicopter training, but she gave a lot of links and you might find something.
Spend some time on the following helicopter websites. They have a lot of information, as well as discussion forums and flight school listings:
One more I’ll throw in here is Helicopter Association International. I seem to recall reading somewhere that they might offer grants.
Aviation is an awesome and rewarding career, but you can get burned if just dive in head first. Talk to pilots, research schools, get information from several different sources, figure the costs, and go into it fully prepared and knowledgeable about every possible path towards your goals. Don’t start until you can prove to yourself that the path you have selected is the right one.