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Going to school can be expensive and it can get to be difficult to find the funding to pay for your aviation education. When researching schools, it can be just as important to research ways to fund your education.

Taking loans only, whether through private loans, federal financial aid, or funding directly from the school, can add up and leave a mountain of debt to repay upon graduation. Instead of relying primarily on loans, consider some options to help fund your education.

Before you get started on your funding quest, take a little time to brainstorm first. Grab a notepad and just start writing down your qualities. Are you short, tall, a minority, have a parent in the military, love coca-cola, are you left-handed? Those last two might seem a little odd but believe it or not, there are funding opportunities for just about everything. (Yes, there is a scholarship for left-handed people.) Running out of ideas, grab a good friend or a family member that can help you come up with ideas for your hunt!

Get a Grant

Grants are a great way to pay for education. They can be challenging to locate and knowing where to look can certainly make a huge difference. When submitting your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for a federal loan, consider applying for the grants that are offered as well. You may just qualify to get a little additional funding that won’t need to be repaid. Also, consider checking out the American Flyers website which has great information about grants.

Scholarships

Another fantastic way to save from racking up debt is looking into scholarship options. There are hundreds available and you just have to know where to look. Consider creating an account with scholarships.com a great site that acts as a search engine just for scholarships. Also visit the FAA’s website with current information about grants and scholarships specifically for those pursuing an education in aviation.

Remember that list you made? This is one area that list can come in handy. Consider everything to which you have a membership or card, think about where you live. Cities, businesses, banks, they all have scholarships to offer students. Take a little time and ask. Not sure if the local grocery store has one, email the corporate office. The worst they can say is no. Who knows though, you might find a little extra money, even just $50 can pay for a textbook.

G.I. Bills

Have parents who are or were in the military? Were you or are you in the military? Consider utilizing your options of the G.I. Bill to help fund your education. You’d be amazed of the benefits that can come your way when using this bill to pay for school.

Tribal Funding

Do you belong to any Native American Tribes? If so, consider contacting your potential school and your tribal council about the possibility of using tribal funding to cover your education. Whatever school you attend, ask upfront about working with someone in finances that specializes in utilizing tribal funding. This is another great way to fund your education.

Responsible Borrowing

Finally, the most common method of funding education, loans. For schools that qualify, Federal loans are available for students in two forms, subsidized and unsubsidized. This basically means they are both loans they both will require repayment. The big difference, the government pays your interest on subsidized loans while you are enrolled while unsubsidized loans you will be responsible for that interest.

Remember when taking loans, only borrow what you need to pay for education. Loan money is for school and school-related items. Borrow the minimum, you aren’t’ required to take the full amount you are approved to receive. Take a little time, factor your expenses for school for that loan period and only borrow that amount. Remember, school loans are for school, not vacations or holiday presents.

Aviation Schools Online wants to help you become a successful student in finding the right school for you. Knowing what you need to fund your education and what avenues for alternate funding you might qualify for can be useful in choosing the right school. Be bold, after all, you’re planning a career in aviation, go after your goal and go after those options to fund your education! And Flight Training

Learn what you need to know about flight training and the GI Bill

If you’ve served on active duty in the US Military, you may be eligible for reimbursement of some or all of your flight training costs under the GI Bill. While you may still have to pay some costs out of pocket, the GI Bill is a great way to help pay for your flight training. The only catch is, with the addition of new benefits for some veterans the process has gotten a little more complex. Here are four things you need to know about using the GI Bill and flight training:

1 – What funding options are available to me?

2 – What training is eligible for reimbursement?

3 – How do I qualify?

4 – What is covered?

If you've served on active duty in the US Military, you may be eligible for reimbursement of some or all of your flight training costs under the GI Bill®. While you may still have to pay some costs out of pocket, the GI Bill® is a great way to help pay for your flight training. The only catch is, with the addition of new benefits for some veterans the process has gotten a little more complex. Here are four things you need to know about using the GI Bill® and flight training:

1 - What funding options are available to me?

There are two sources of funding that, depending on your eligibility, will cover some or all of your flight training costs: the Montgomery GI Bill® (Chapter 30) and the Post 9/11 GI Bill® (Chapter 33). While both are options, not all veterans qualify for both and each program is different. Under the Montgomery GI Bill®, veterans are usually reimbursed for 60% of their flight training costs. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill®, which has more limited qualifications, veterans are reimbursed for 100% of their training up to $10,000 per academic year.

2 - What training is eligible for reimbursement?

In order to use your benefits under either program, you must take an approved course at an approved school. To find an approved school, you can use the Weams Institution Search on the GI Bill® website. To locate flight schools, you must select Flight under program type. In order to establish what courses are eligible for reimbursement, contact the VA representative at an approved school. The private pilot course is not covered, but in general Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot, Flight Instructor, and ATP courses are eligible depending on the institutional approval.

3 - How do I qualify?

Before you are eligible for reimbursement, you must obtain a Private Pilot Certificate and at least a Second Class Medical Certificate. Then, you can enroll in an approved school's training programs and apply for reimbursements. In order to continue receiving your benefits, you will need to complete a minimum of 5 hours of instruction every 30 days and at least 15 hours every 90 days. Exceptions to the attendance requirements include weather, illness and a few other extenuating circumstances. The school must file a report regarding your attendance with the VA every month in order for you to receive your reimbursements. Unfortunately, if you do not meet the monthly and quarterly requirements and no suitable exceptions are documented, your benefits will stop and you must reapply.

4 - What is covered?

Depending on which program you were eligible for, you will receive reimbursement for anywhere from 60% to 100% of your training costs. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill®, you are limited to $10,000 per academic year, but the program covers 100% of your training costs. Under the Montgomery GI Bill®, you will receive reimbursement for about 60% of your costs up to the maximum approved hours for a given course under Part 141 of the FARs. Unfortunately, books, medical exams, and other materials (such as flight computers) are not eligible for reimbursement. Additionally, written exams and practical exams are not eligible unless you submit a request to the VA.

For more information and to verify your eligibility, please visit the GI Bill® website (http://www.gibill.va.gov) or call the Veterans Administration 1-888-442-4551.