Many or all companies we feature compensate us. Compensation and editorial
research influence how products appear on a page.
Student Loans

Student Loans for Real Estate School

Real estate school can be expensive. Depending on your chosen route, it can set you back $1,000 to over $100,000. As a result, it’s understandable if you need to take out a student loan to cover the costs.

Keep reading to learn how federal and private student loans could help you pay for real estate school and how the application process works. Plus, we also discuss some alternatives.

Do student loans cover real estate school?

Getting a private or federal student loan for a real estate school is possible. You could get one while pursuing a real estate degree program or a certificate at a trade school.

That said, you might have trouble qualifying for one if your school isn’t an eligible or accredited institution.

Before you take out a student loan, research scholarship opportunities. Some REALTOR® associations offer scholarships up to $2,000 for students majoring in business or real estate. A scholarship can help minimize your borrowing cost; unlike a loan, you don’t have to repay it.

Can I get federal student loans for real estate school?

You could use a federal student loan to pay for real estate school. However, your school must be an accredited school to qualify. To check its accreditation status, search the U.S. Department of Education’s accreditation database to see if your school is accredited.

Depending on your financial situation and the real estate program you’re enrolled in, you might qualify for one of these federal loans:

Federal loan typeAvailable for real estate school?What to know
Direct Subsidized✅ For undergraduates who demonstrate financial 
Direct Unsubsidized✅ Don’t need to demonstrate financial need, but the government doesn’t cover your interest while in school
Grad PLUS✅ For those enrolled in an eligible real estate master’s degree program and requires a credit check
  • Direct Subsidized loan. You might qualify for this loan if you’re an undergraduate student who can demonstrate financial need. While you’re enrolled in school at least half-time, the U.S. Department of Education pays your interest.
  • Direct Unsubsidized loan. If you’re an undergraduate or graduate student enrolled at a qualifying school, you may qualify for an unsubsidized loan. While you don’t need to demonstrate financial need to qualify, interest does accrue on the loan while you’re in school.
  • Grad PLUS loan. Once you’ve maxed out your unsubsidized loans eligibility, a Grad PLUS loan could help fill any funding gaps. You might qualify if you don’t have any adverse credit history on your credit reports.

Best private real estate student loans

If you’re seeking private loans, two solid options are available: College Ave is terrific for borrowers attending accredited institutions, and Sallie Mae’s Career Training Smart Option Student Loan might be ideal for those considering a non-degree-granting institution.

LenderBest forRates (APR)
College AveOverall4.07%16.85%
Sallie MaeCosigners4.50%16.78%
Based on career loans

College Ave: Best overall

LendEDU rating: 5 out of 5

  • Cash back reward of $150 upon program completion
  • Finance up to 100% of educational expenses
  • Choose from 16 different repayment schedules.

College Ave is a premier choice for students pursuing career development, including those enrolled in real estate programs at accredited institutions. This lender caters to various educational pursuits, from associate degrees to postgraduate studies, ensuring that students at various levels can find suitable funding options. 

What sets College Ave apart is its broad eligibility criteria and its commitment to supporting students beyond the classroom. The cash-back reward is an incentive that motivates students to achieve their educational goals.

College Ave understands the diverse financial backgrounds of its borrowers, offering the option to add a cosigner to improve approval chances. This flexibility, coupled with the option to release the cosigner after repaying half of the original loan amount, highlights College Ave’s adaptability to borrowers’ evolving financial independence. 

College Ave combines flexibility with financial viability, making it an excellent option for real estate students.

Sallie Mae: Best for cosigners

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Cosigner release after 12 consecutive, on-time payments
  • Loans can cover 100% of all program-related expenses
  • Immediate repayment options and the ability to make interest-only payments for the first 12 months after school

Sallie Mae is a top lender for students seeking loans for professional training and trade certificate programs, including those in real estate. Its comprehensive approach to funding, which encompasses not just tuition but also books, housing, travel, and more, ensures that students can focus on their education without financial distractions. 

The Smart Option Student Loan for Career Training is beneficial for students at non-degree-granting institutions, providing vital financial support where it may otherwise be scarce. 

One of Sallie Mae’s standout features is its cosigner release policy, which allows borrowers to apply for cosigner release after 12 on-time payments, offering a faster path to financial independence than many other lenders. 

Sallie Mae offers flexible repayment terms ranging from 10 to 15 years and competitive interest rates. Including immediate repayment options, such as interest payments or a nominal flat fee, alongside the potential for making interest-only payments for the first year postgraduation, reflects Sallie Mae’s commitment to accommodating diverse financial situations.

How to get student loans for real estate school

The process varies depending on whether you apply for a federal or private loan. For a federal loan, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After you complete the FAFSA, you’ll receive a student aid report (SAR) outlining your loan eligibility.

Completing the FAFSA generally takes an hour. Once completed, it can take a few weeks to months for the government to disburse funds to your school to cover your outstanding balance. Your school will then send you any leftover funds to cover other expenses.

The application process for a private student loan varies by lender, but here are the general steps.

  • Review eligibility requirements. Many private student loan companies have minimum income and credit score requirements. If you don’t meet those requirements, some will allow you to apply with a cosigner.
  • Prequalify. Compare your options by prequalifying with multiple lenders. Though prequalifying doesn’t guarantee a lender will approve the loan, it can give you an idea of what rates and terms you could receive.
  • Submit formal application. After choosing the best option for you, submit a complete loan application. Documentation requirements vary, but lenders might ask you to provide your school information and your—or your cosigner’s—latest tax return, W-2s, and bank statements.
  • Receive funds. Like a federal student loan, lenders usually send funds directly to your school to cover your balance. Afterward, your school will send you any remaining funds.

Ask the expert

Natalie Slagle


If you are looking to get a four-year degree in real estate, I encourage you to complete the FAFSA form first to see what they qualify for before going to private lenders. The cost will be significantly less if you just pay for the licensure to become a real estate agent. You are also unlikely to qualify for student loans in this situation, so your options are to self fund or fund through your employer. 

If you want a four-year degree in real estate, I encourage you to complete the FAFSA form first to see what they qualify for before going to private lenders. The cost will be significantly less if you just pay for the licensure to become a real estate agent. You are also unlikely to qualify for student loans in this situation, so your options are to self-fund or fund through your employer. 

Alternatives to real estate student loans

Student loans for real estate school are a common route to fund your education, but they’re not the only option. Consider whether these alternatives are available. They can make your real estate career dreams a reality while lightening your financial burden.

Employer assistance for real estate school

This option involves an employer financially backing your education. It’s an alternative worth considering because it can save you money upfront. Unlike student loans, employer assistance doesn’t need to be repaid. However, some employers might require you to work for them for some time in return for their support.

On-campus employment

On-campus employment could also help fund your real estate school—and it might be a viable way to lessen how much you owe after graduation. Job availability and work-study hours may affect this option’s viability, and it might not cover all your educational expenses.

Personal savings

The primary advantage of personal savings is that it allows you to avoid debt. But real estate school can be expensive, and you may need to save substantially to cover the full costs.

Education savings accounts

An education savings account is a type of investment account that offers tax advantages intended to encourage savings for future education costs. 

School payment plans

Some real estate schools offer payment plans that may require regular payments sooner and have higher monthly payments than a loan would.

GI Bill

The GI Bill, designed to help veterans finance their education, is another alternative to student loans for real estate school. This benefit can cover full tuition costs if you’re eligible, but it’s only an option for veterans and eligible dependents.

Real estate internships

Real estate internships can sometimes offer stipends or other payment methods to help fund your education. The amount you earn can vary and may not cover full costs. Balancing work and study commitments can be challenging.

Recap: Best private student loans for real estate school

LenderBest forRates (APR)
College AveOverall4.07%16.85%
Sallie MaeCosigners4.50%16.78%