Many or all companies we feature compensate us. Compensation and editorial research influence how products appear on a page. Student Loans Student Loans for Truck Driving School Updated Jun 21, 2023   |   8-min read   |   This article has been reviewed by a Certified Financial Planner™ for accuracy. Written by Rebecca Lake, CEPF® Written by Rebecca Lake, CEPF® Expertise: Student loans, mortgages, home-buying, credit, debt, personal loans, education planning, insurance, investing, small business Rebecca Lake is a certified educator in personal finance (CEPF®) and freelance writer specializing in finance. Learn more about Rebecca Lake, CEPF® Reviewed by Erin Kinkade, CFP® Reviewed by Erin Kinkade, CFP® Expertise: Insurance planning, education planning, retirement planning, investment planning, military benefits, behavioral finance Erin Kinkade, CFP®, ChFC®, works as a financial planner at AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust. Erin prepares comprehensive financial plans for military veterans and their families. Learn more about Erin Kinkade, CFP® Truck driving school can help you develop the necessary skills to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and pursue a career in trucking. Depending on where you enroll, training may take four to 10 weeks, though some programs can run longer. An essential factor to consider when choosing a school is cost. Truck driving school tuition and fees vary by program, but a typical range is $3,000 to $10,000. You have several financing options for truck driving school, including student loans. Knowing what’s available can help you determine the best way to pay for your training. In this guide: Can student loans be used for truck driving school?How to get student loans for truck driving schoolHow to apply for student loans for truck driving school Can student loans be used for truck driving school? You may use federal or private student loans to pay for truck driving school. Available options can depend on the following: Where you’re attending schoolFinancial aid programs the school participates inYour credit history and income (for private student loans) Federal student loans are issued through the Department of Education. Private student loans, on the other hand, are granted by private lenders. Entities that make private student loans for trucking school can include banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Which is better for truck driving school: federal or private student loans? For most borrowers, federal student loans make the most sense. These loans can yield benefits that private student loans do not, including: Low, fixed interest ratesFlexible repayment options, including income-driven repaymentBuilt-in deferment and forbearance protectionsGrace periodsPotential for loan forgivenessSubsidized interest (for eligible loans) Private student loan lenders aren’t required to offer any of these. Many require a credit check to qualify, unlike most federal student loans. With private student loans, interest rates may be fixed or variable, so your rate could go up or down over the life of the loan. You may also pay fees for private student loans that you wouldn’t with federal loans. However, private student loans have one distinct advantage: They can allow you to borrow more money for school than federal loans. How to get student loans for truck driving school The first step in getting student loans to pay for truck driving school is knowing your options, which may include federal and private student loans. If you’ve selected a school, you may be able to get more information on financing through the financial aid or billing office. Can I use federal student loans for CDL training? Student truck drivers may be able to use federal student loans to pay for CDL training if their school is eligible to participate in federal student aid programs. Loan options you might be able to take advantage of include: Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)Federal PLUS LoansFederal Pell Grants You must pay back Federal Direct and Federal PLUS Loans with interest. Borrowers don’t need to repay Pell Grants. With Direct Subsidized loans, the government pays the interest that accrues during the grace period, forbearance, and deferment. Parents and professional students can take out PLUS loans. Here’s a more detailed comparison of federal student aid options for trucking school. Annual loan limitWho can borrow?Credit check required?Direct Subsidized LoansUp to $12,500Eligible undergraduates with demonstrated financial needNoDirect Unsubsidized LoansUp to $20,500Eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional studentsNoParent PLUS LoansCost of attendance, less any other financial aid receivedParents of eligible undergraduate studentsYes, for parentsStudent PLUS LoansCost of attendance, less any other financial aid receivedGraduate and professional studentsYes, for studentsFederal Pell GrantsUp to $6,895Students with exceptional financial need who have not yet earned a degreeNo If your school is eligible to participate in federal student aid programs, it’s essential to know which training programs qualify. For example, you may be able to use Direct loans to pay for basic CDL training but need a PLUS loan to pay for an advanced certificate. You’ll need to be able to qualify for federal student loans to use any of these options for truck driving school. Eligible borrowers must: Have demonstrated financial need (for need-based aid)Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen Have a valid Social Security numberBe enrolled at least half-time in an eligible schoolMaintain satisfactory academic progressShow that you’re qualified to obtain a college or career school education That last bullet often means a high school diploma or GED, though your school may not require these. If you don’t have either, you may want to research options for getting student loans without a high school diploma or GED. Can I use private student loans for CDL training? Many private student loan lenders offer college and career training loans, including truck driving school. With private student loans, your eligibility is often based on one of the following: Credit history and credit scoresIncomeCitizenship statusWhere your plan to enroll in schoolEnrollment statusDegree or certificate program If you don’t have a strong credit history, you may need a cosigner to get private student loans for trucking school. When comparing lenders, consider the following: How much you can borrow Interest rates and feesWhat’s required to qualify for loans We’ve researched lenders that offer private loans to pay for truck driving school. College Ave View Rates Career Student Loans Cover up to 100% of your cost of attendanceGet an instant credit decision in 3 minutesChoose from 16 different repayment schedules College Ave offers student loans with low rates and flexible repayment terms. Choose between a fixed and variable interest rate. You can use its career training loan to pay for trucking school. Key features: Loan limits: Up to 100% of cost of attendance, less any other financial aid receivedInterest rates (APR): 4.49% – 15.72%Repayment options: Full, interest-only, fixed, or deferred (meaning you don’t make payments while in school)Fees: No origination fees or application feesNotes: 0.25% autopay rate discount Sallie Mae View Rates Smart Option Student Loan for Career Training Cosigner release after 12 consecutive, on-time paymentsUp to 100% of costs are coveredNo fees Sallie Mae offers a Smart Option Student Loan for Career Training. This loan, designed for trade schools and other professional training programs, will cover truck driving school costs. Key features: Loan limits: Cost of attendance for one year of school, less any other financial aid receivedInterest rates (APR): 5.37% – 15.89%Repayment options: Interest-only, fixed, or deferred (i.e.,postponing payments while in school or during your internship, law clerkship, fellowship, or residency)Fees: No origination fees or prepayment penaltiesNotes: Cosigners are encouraged but not required Climb Credit View Rates Career Loans Get assistance for truck driving school Loans can pay for tuition and living expensesNo cosigner requirement Climb Credit bills itself as “another kind of student lender,” partnering with trade schools and coding boot camps to help students pay for courses to increase their income and start a career. Key features: Loan limits: $10,000Interest rates (APR): 0.00% – 29.07%Repayment options: Interest-only, deferred (no payments owed until you finish the program), or fullFees: 5% origination feeNotes: Must be enrolled at a partner school Plenty of private student loan lenders are out there, but not all finance certificates or training programs. If you’re having trouble finding a private lender to work with, you might explore other options to pay for school. These could include: Direct loans from the schoolInstallment payment plansTuition reimbursement, if a prospective employer offers itScholarships and grantsState-sponsored financial aid programs Researching the possibilities can help you narrow down what type of financing to look for. Before making a final decision, remember to compare the pros and cons, including the cost. How to apply for student loans for truck driving school The application process will differ depending on whether you’re applying for federal or private student loans. Federal student loans To apply for federal student loans for trucking school, you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can do so online through the Department of Education website. You’ll need to provide information about yourself, your school, and your parents if you apply for federal financial aid as a dependent student. Documents you might need include: Pay stubsTax returnsBank statementsInvestment account statements (including 529 plans) You may want to apply for federal student loans as soon as the new FAFSA period opens for the academic year. The opening date every year is October 1. The deadline for completing the FAFSA is June 30 each year, and certain types of aid are first come, first served. Once you submit your FAFSA, you’ll get a financial aid award letter detailing how much you qualify for in loans or grants. You can then use that number to decide whether you must apply for private student loans. Private student loans To apply for private student loans for trucking school, you’ll need to fill out an application on the lender’s website. The lender may require you to share the following: Your nameDate of birthSocial Security numberHome address and phone numberHousing status (i.e., rent or own)Monthly housing paymentIncome and employment status Private student loans often require a hard credit check. If you’re applying with a cosigner, the lender will pull their credit too. There are no deadlines for applying for private student loans. Once approved, you may be able to get funding in a few business days. However, we recommend submitting your application early to ensure you’ll have the money to pay for trucking school once the program begins.