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Student Loans

Student Loans for Police Academy

Before you apply for student loans for police academy training, research the police department you want to join. In many cases, the department will pay for your training at a police academy. We recommend exploring this route before taking out any loans.

If you find your employer won’t pay your policy academy tuition, or your police academy doesn’t offer paid training to everyone, student loans may be available to help finance this cost. Here are our recommendations for student loans for police academy, as well as other options to explore.

LenderRatesBest for
Dept. of EducationStart at 5.05%Federal student loans
College Ave4.07%16.69%Best overall
Sallie Mae4.50%16.70%Cosigners
Ascent4.09%16.08%Soft credit check
Earnest4.11%16.20%No fees

Will my employer pay for police academy?

Yes, your employer will pay for police academy training in some cases, depending on where you live and whether your police department offers this benefit. We recommend looking into this option first before applying for student loans.

Some police departments only offer paid academy training to a certain number of recruits, and others offer it to all. Some will pay for it only if you meet certain conditions, such as working there for a set amount of time.

In many instances, police departments will even pay you a salary while you’re training: 

  • For example, in Pembroke Pines, Florida, the city pays for your academy training in addition to a salary of almost $50,000 per year
  • The Jackson Police Department in Mississippi says it’s one of the few agencies in the state that sponsors recruits undergoing Basic Law Enforcement Academy Training. 
  • The police department in Burleson, Texas, will pay for you to attend the academy, but you must work for the department for two years. Otherwise, you must repay a portion. 
  • The City of Chicago, which has the second-largest police force in the nation, pays for all recruits to attend a rigorous six-month police academy. 
  • The University of North Carolina police force, says it will consider paying for candidates to attend training on a case-by-case basis.

So if you want to work for a police force that pays for your basic training, it’s important to research potential employers ahead of time. Call to ask questions, or search the website to see whether it offers paid training as a benefit.

You might need to work for a police department outside of your current city for this benefit, but it could be worth it to save a few thousand dollars.

Can student loans be used for a police academy?

Depending on the institution and your enrollment status (e.g., half-time, full-time, or part-time), you might be able to use federal or private student loans for police academy.

We recommend that eligible students use federal loans for the police academy over private loans because federal loans come with fixed interest rates and better repayment terms. If your or your cosigner’s credit is less-than-perfect, you might get a lower interest rate with federal loans. 

Your federal loan also is likely to be eligible for forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program because police departments are eligible government employers. If you’re a veteran, you may be eligible for VA training programs, so check there before considering a loan.

Can federal student loans be used for a police academy?

If you’re enrolled in an accredited college or university at least half-time, you may be eligible for federal student loans for the police academy. Accredited universities meet certain standards for education, and enrolled students may be eligible for financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. 

Many police academies are associated with community or junior colleges. You may use federal student loans and grants to cover the cost of police academy tuition.

While loans need to be repaid, grants often don’t. To find out which federal loans or grants you could qualify for, start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. 

Possible federal loan and grant options include the following:

Loan typeNeed based?Max amount
Direct Subsidized Loan☑️$23,000
Direct Unsubsidized Loan✖️$31,000 ($57,500 for dependent students)
Pell Grant☑️$7,395 per year
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)☑️$4,000 per year

How to find out whether your police academy is accredited

Find out whether your police academy is accredited by searching the U.S. Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP). Police academies are often associated with community or junior colleges, and you might need to enter the name of the college to find it.

You can also search for your school on the Federal Student Aid website. Enter your state and the name of your school to see whether it’s there. If it is, your school is eligible for federal aid. The Federal Student Aid website will list your school’s unique code, which you’ll need to enter when completing the FAFSA.

Can private student loans be used for a police academy?

Yes, you might be able to use private loans for police academy. If you aren’t eligible for federal student loans or your financial need is greater than the federal loans you qualify for, consider private loans. You can apply with credit unions, banks, and other independent financial institutions.

Lenders’ rules about who qualifies for private loans differ. You may need to be enrolled in college to qualify. Certain lenders also offer career loans. For those enrolled in school, accreditation status may factor into whether you’re eligible for a private loan. 

If you don’t qualify for a private loan on your own, you might be able to with an eligible cosigner. Here’s a look at four popular private lenders and what they offer.

LenderRatesLoan amounts
College Ave4.07%16.69%$1,000 – 100% of certified costs
Sallie Mae4.50%16.70%$1,000 – 100% of certified costs
Ascent4.09%16.08%$2,001 – $200,000
Earnest4.11%16.20%$1,000 – 100% of certified costs

College Ave – Best overall 

LendEDU rating: 5.0 out of 5

  • Competitive interest rates
  • Choose your repayment term
  • 4 in-school repayment options

College Ave, which earned our best overall private lender designation, offers a career training loan for qualified police academy training. College Ave also has competitive interest rates and several repayment schedules, and you can get an instant credit decision in just a few minutes. 

If you want to apply for a career training loan from College Ave, you must meet its credit score requirements. If you don’t, you can apply with an eligible cosigner. You can opt for repayment terms as long as 15 years. Plus, no application fees or origination fees apply. 

If you need a loan for your police academy training, contact College Ave to make sure your training program is eligible. If it is, you can get up to 100% of the cost of attendance covered.


Sallie Mae – Best for cosigners

LendEDU rating: 4.3 out of 5

  • Cosigner release after 12 months of consecutive on-time payments
  • Repayment options include deferred, fixed, and interest-only
  • Get a decision within 15 minutes

Sallie Mae offers a Smart Option Student Loan for Career Training, which might cover the cost of eligible police academy training. A Sallie Mae loan can cover up to 100% of your educational expenses. If you use a cosigner when applying, they can be released from the loan after 12 consecutive on-time payments.

No fees apply for the Smart Option Student Loan for Career Training, but you must have a good credit history and a solid income to be approved. Contact Sallie Mae to find out whether your police training academy qualifies.


Ascent – Best for a soft credit check

LendEDU rating: 4.3 out of 5

  • Choose to start making payments now or after leaving school
  • 1% cash back at graduation
  • Check your prequalified rates with no impact on your credit score

Ascent offers a Career Training and Development Loan for eligible training and certificate programs. If you need to apply for private student loans for police academies, contact Ascent before applying to see whether your school is eligible.

If it is, you can get up to 100% of your costs covered. Like many private loans, you must have a solid credit history or a creditworthy cosigner. One unique benefit of Ascent is you can get 1% cash back upon graduation. 


Earnest – Best for no fees

LendEDU rating: 4.7 out of 5

  • No origination, late payment, or prepayment fees
  • Ability to skip one payment per year
  • Undergraduate loans available, but not career loans


If you want to get an undergraduate degree before completing police academy training, Earnest offers private student loans at competitive rates. An Earnest loan might not cover police academy training, but an undergraduate degree can make you a more competitive candidate for a police force job.

Earnest stands out in the private student loan space for its loan repayment options, broader method of evaluating a borrower’s eligibility beyond credit scores, and easy-to-use mobile app. It doesn’t charge origination or application fees.


How to apply for police academy student loans

If your employer isn’t paying for your training, and you plan to apply for student loans for police academy training, follow these steps.

  1. Determine eligibility. Find out whether your police academy training is eligible for federal student loans. If it is, fill out the FAFSA. If it isn’t, research private lenders.
  2. Research FAFSA deadlines. If your police academy is eligible for federal student loans, find out what the FAFSA deadline is. Federal, state, and individual college FAFSA deadlines can vary. Submit your FAFSA form by the earliest deadline to apply for federal loans.
  3. Choose a private lender. If federal student loans cover the cost of your academy training, skip this step. If you need funding in addition to federal loans, or your police academy training isn’t eligible for federal loans, research a private lender. Many private lenders suggest you apply about 90 days before you need your loan funds.
  4. Apply for a loan. When completing a FAFSA application or a private lender application, you’ll likely need to gather specific documents, including your Social Security card, tax returns, proof of income, and even your parents’ income information if you need to include it on your application.
  5. Read the fine print. Before accepting student loans, whether federal or private, make sure you understand your obligations, your interest rate, and your responsibilities for making payments.

Our expert’s recommendation

Erin Kinkade

CFP®

Research surrounding county programs to see which ones are accredited and will pay for your training in whole or in part. Second, I recommend applying for grants before federal student loans since grants don’t need to be repaid. Last, be sure you don’t borrow more than you need and prepare a repayment plan within your budget so you can begin repaying any loans as soon as you pass the training and get a job.

Police academy student loan repayment

If you take out federal student loans to pay for your police academy training, you’ll likely be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) in the future. 

To qualify for PSLF and have your loans forgiven, you must certify your employment and submit a Public Service Loan Forgiveness form every year. To get the remainder of your student loan balance forgiven, you must also make 120 consecutive, on-time monthly payments.

Private student loans aren’t eligible for student loan forgiveness. So, if you took out private loans to pay for your police academy training, you’ll need to repay them as agreed.

How much does police academy cost?

The tuition costs and duration of police academies vary based on your state. Sometimes, the police department that hires you will pay for your academy tuition. In other instances, you’ll need to pay for your own tuition.

To give you an idea of how much tuition costs in different states, here are three examples: 

  • To become a police officer in Massachusetts, you must attend a 20-week academy, and tuition costs $3,200. 
  • In Georgia, the police academy is 11 weeks long, and tuition is $3,093. 
  • In eastern Florida, it’s $3,782 if you’re a Florida resident for a 700-clock-hour training.

While time frames and tuition vary, if you pay your own fees, you can expect to pay several thousand dollars to attend a police academy.

Recap: Private student loans for police academy

LenderRates
College Ave4.07%16.69%
Sallie Mae4.50%16.70%
Ascent4.09%16.08%
Earnest4.11%16.20%