Student loans 14 February 2023

Student Loans For Trade Schools

Here are student loans made specifically for trade schools with a lot of financial aid opportunities to cover your studies.

Student loans for trade schools

Trade schools offer a great alternative to traditional college programs. They provide an accelerated pathway to a career, enabling students to complete their education in as little as two years and begin working soon thereafter. Students enrolled in a trade school are more likely to secure higher-paying jobs than those who graduated from other forms of postsecondary education and many job opportunities are available that require a specialized skill set. Even though trade school is less expensive than college, some students struggle to cover out-of-pocket expenses, therefore financial assistance is required. You can choose from different student loans for trade schools provided by private institutions or look at the federal student loans by the government.

Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans are less expensive than private loans, allowing access to some protection not offered by private lenders, such as income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness alternatives. Their fixed interest rate is frequently less than that of private loans and they don’t require a credit score check. If you opt for a student loan, you might be eligible for any of the three types of federal student loans. 

Direct Subsidized Loans

The Direct Subsidized Loan helps students meet their financial need to pay for their education. The federal government pays the interest on this loan while the student is in school, during grace periods and any deferment periods. To be eligible for a Direct Subsidized Loan, you must meet certain requirements, such as demonstrating financial need, enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree program and attendance at least half-time. You must also be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen and have a valid Social Security number. 

The interest rate on Direct Subsidized Loans is fixed for the life of the loan and is currently set at 4.53%. You can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. Repayment of the loan begins six months after you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment. There are several repayment options available for Direct Subsidized Loans, including income-driven repayment plans and public service loan forgiveness. 

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is an excellent resource for trade school students looking to finance their educational expenses. With fixed interest rates and flexible repayment options, you can be sure that the loan will work with your budget as you work toward completing your degree. This type of federal loan does not require the borrower to demonstrate financial need. It is funded through the US Department of Education and may account for up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance.

The Direct Unsubsidized Loan has fixed interest rates that are set by the government each year and repayment terms that can be tailored to meet your needs. You may also choose to defer payments until after you have completed college, or even opt for an income-based repayment plan that adjusts your loan payments according to your salary. Both Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans are also known as Stafford Loans and are the most common type of federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.

Direct PLUS Loans

Direct PLUS Loans, also known as Grad PLUS and Parent PLUS, have higher interest rates and disbursement fees than Stafford Loans. The Direct PLUS Loan is a loan offered to graduate or professional students, as well as parents of undergraduate students, to help fund the cost of college. It is part of the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program and provides funds that are not covered by other financial aid options. The loan amount may be up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received. The borrower must pass a credit check in order to qualify, and the interest rate and fees are generally higher than those associated with other federal student loans. Borrowers must complete an application and promissory note, which outlines the terms of repayment. 

Repayment is required within 10 years after graduation or when the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time, although interest and fees may be deferred while in school. Repayment options are available for those who cannot make full payments. Direct PLUS Loans are a great way to supplement other financial aid options in order to cover college expenses.

Private Student Loans

There are a number of private student loans you can apply for even if they are not specified to trade schools. For instance, student loans from Sallie Mae and College Ave can be applicable for full-time or part-time trade school students. 

An established credit history or a cosigner is frequently necessary for private student loans. Interest rates of private student loans may vary. Depending on your status, they can be higher or lower than those on federal loans. These rates may also be variable or fixed. Some private student loans do allow you to defer (postpone) payments while you are still in school, but many of them do require repayment while you are still enrolled.

How to Apply For Federal Student Loans

Step 1: Fill out the FAFSA form

When it comes to financial aid for educational expenses, the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the place to start. This form, which must be completed annually, considers your school expenses as well as factors such as family size and income. This information is used to determine your financial need and eligibility for federal grants and loans.

Step 2: Accept Federal Assistance Options

Federal student loans typically have fixed interest rates that are lower than those offered by private lenders. They also provide benefits and features that private loans do not offer, making them the best first option for funding trade schools.

Step 3: Look for Flexible Repayment Terms

Federal student loans have a variety of repayment options, including income-driven repayment and forbearance in the event of financial hardship.

How to Apply For Private Student Loans

Step 1: Compare Private Student Loans

It’s a good idea to shop around for a private loan to ensure you’re getting the best interest rate and loan terms possible. Each lender has its own requirements, but some offer trade school loans for career training schools, such as Sallie Mae.

Step 2: Look For a Cosigner (if needed)

Adding a creditworthy cosigner may allow you to get more loans and/or lower interest rates.

Step 3: Look for Flexible Repayment Terms

While private lenders do not offer income-based repayment, they provide a variety of multi-year terms. Furthermore, lenders such as Sallie Mae do not require immediate repayment. While in school, you can make fixed monthly payments or interest-only payments.

Student Loans For Trade Schools

LenderScholarooratingOur viewFixed ratesstarting (APR)Variable ratesstarting (APR)Learn more

Sallie Mae

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4.9/5A Trusted Lender with Great Offers4.505.37%Visit website

College Ave

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5/5Best for low interest student loans4.49%4.49%Visit website


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4.8/5Great for loans without cosigners4.62%5.31%Visit website

Citizens Bank

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3/5Great for loan discounts5.39%5.09%Visit website

Custom Choice

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4.1/5Best for flexible payment options3.654.75Visit website


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4.2/5Best for private student loans5.91%6.46%Visit website


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3.1/5Great for flexible repayment options4.37%5.86%Visit website


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4.3/5Best for low cost financing options4.896.64Visit website

Review of Lenders

Read below for a detailed review of lenders giving student loans for trade schools

Sallie Mae 

Sallie Mae is one of the leading companies offering private student loans. The lender offers loans for undergraduate, graduate, career training, MBA, medical school, dental school, and other educational pursuits. For students enrolled in technical, culinary, and other trade-related certificate programs at non-degree-granting institutions, Sallie Mae is available.

Pros of Sallie Mae:

  • Release of the cosigner is possible after just one year.
  • Upon receiving 12 consecutive on-time payments, cosigners may be dismissed.
  • 100% of expenditures may be paid.
  • Discharge for death and disability – Sallie Mae will discharge (forgive) the loan debt in the event of the student’s death or total and permanent disability.

Cons of Sallie Mae:

  • Late fees and returned payment fees are applied
  • Limited repayment options; you will only have the option of a 15- or 20-year repayment period for graduate students and between 10 and 15 years for undergraduate students.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be a U.S. national or lawful permanent resident.
  • Non-citizen students can also apply (including DACA students)
  • Attend a school in the U.S. and apply with a qualifying cosigner.

Repayment Terms

  • Cosigner release after 12 consecutive on-time payments
  • Loans that are forgiven in the event of death or disability
  • Loan terms range from two to 32 years.

College Ave

College Ave provides undergraduate, graduate, and parent loans to students enrolled in College Ave-affiliated schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. College Ave has a competitive advantage in terms of speed with applications that take only a few minutes to complete and instant decisions. In addition to career programs and refinancing, College Ave offers student loan solutions for all higher education levels.

Pros of College Ave:

  • Get $150 back after earning your degree.
  • Offers 16 different repayment plans
  • No origination fee
  • No prepayment penalty

Cons of College Ave:

  • Late payment penalty
  • No incentives for signing up like rivals

Eligibility requirements

  • Must be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States
  • Must excel academically
  • Mid-600s as the minimum credit score (estimate)
  • A minimum annual income of $35,000

Repayment Terms

  • Cosigners are released after 24 months
  • Deferred tuition and immediate repayment
  • Loans forgiven in the event of death or disability
  • From five- to 20- year loan terms are available


Even if your credit history isn’t stellar, Ascent funding is one of the few lenders that allow applying for a loan without a cosigner. Due to the fact that it doesn’t need candidates to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, it might also be a useful option for students from other countries.

Pros of Ascent:

  • Up to 100% of costs are covered
  • Check your rate without impacting your credit
  • Stands out for its quick loan payback features
  • A grace period of nine months

Cons of Ascent:

  • Interest rates could be higher than those offered by alternative lenders
  • Students enrolled on a less than part-time basis are ineligible

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a student with DACA who is enrolled at least part-time in a program and is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States
  • Be at least 18 years old, or the age of legal majority in their state of residence
  • Have a credit score of at least 640

Repayment Terms

  • Allows for military forbearance and deferment
  • Loans forgiven upon death or incapacity
  • Cosigners are released after 12 months
  • Deferred tuition and immediate repayment
  • From five- to 20- year loan terms are available

Citizens Bank 

Citizens Bank has one of the lowest loan minimums, low interest rates, and multi-year approvals; so you can only borrow what you need for education. For your undergraduate studies, you are permitted to borrow up to $150,000, and you have up to 15 years to return the debt.

Pros of Citizens Bank

  • No fees or penalties
  • Discounts for qualified applicants
  • Option to include a co-applicant

Cons of Citizens Bank

  • Strong credit is recommended to qualify
  • Inability to change the due date

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a U.S citizen or an eligible international student
  • Have a creditworthy co-borrower who will share repayment responsibility
  • Enrolled at least part-time in a certificate-granting trade school program at an eligible non-profit college or university in the United States

Repayment Terms

  • Accepts full monthly payment, interest only or immediate repayment
  • Loans discharged upon death or disability
  • A cosigner is released after 36 months
  • Loan terms of five, 10, and 15 years are available

Custom Choice

A Custom Choice Loan will cover up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance, which will typically include tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses.

Pros of Custom Choice:

  • No hard credit check to be eligible
  • No late charges
  • 2% off your principal if you graduate
  • Stands out for its quick loan payback features

Cons of Custom Choice:

  • Additional payments are not applied to the main balance
  • Its forbearance program is less generous than that of others

Eligibility Requirements

  • Borrowers may apply from any of the 50 states.
  • Must be an American national or lawful permanent resident
  • Must have a valid Social Security number
  • Be at least 18 years old

Repayment Terms

  • Full deferment, immediate repayment, interest-only repayment, flat/full repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance
  • Loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Loan terms of seven, 10, and 15 years
  • The cosigner is released after 36 months


EDvestinU is the nonprofit student loan lending and refinancing arm of the New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corp. Borrowers in select states and Puerto Rico can apply for undergraduate and graduate loans, as well as student loan consolidation, with fixed and variable interest rates.

Pros of EDvestinU:

  • Need not have a degree to refinance
  • Benefits for New Hampshire residents who attend in-state schools

Cons of EDvestinU:

  • Only available in 21 states and territories in the United States
    Many other lenders have a higher refinance cap
  • Higher credit score

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a US citizen and a permanent resident of New Hampshire
  • Earn at least $30,000 per year
  • Have a credit score of at least 670

Repayment Terms

  • Borrowers may be eligible for administrative forbearance, academic deferment, and loan forgiveness in the event of death or disability.
  • Authorization for a cosigner after 36 months of on-time payments
  • There are loan terms of seven, 10, and 15 years available


If you have a steady income but are still a student or did not complete your education, the INvestED student loan refinance may be an excellent option. INvestED allows borrowers to refinance their student loans while they are still enrolled, unlike many lenders who require applicants to have completed high school. You may still be eligible if you dropped out before receiving your diploma.

Pros of INvestEd:

  • Refinance even without a degree
  • A 24-month forbearance period
  • Interest-only repayment may be an option

Cons of INvestEd:

  • Requires a hard credit check
  • Must be an Indiana native or a former student to be considered
  • No protection to borrowers provided

Eligibility Requirements

  • Have a minimum credit score of 670
  • Must be a permanent resident or a citizen of the United States
  • Must attend a federal recognized college or university

Repayment Terms

  • Immediate repayment, academic deferment, and forbearance allowed
  • Loan terms of five, 10 or 15 years
  • Cosigner release after 48 months of on-time payments


MEFA, or the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, offers private student loans and student loan refinancing to undergraduate and graduate students in all 50 states. Its refinancing loan is best suited for borrowers with a steady income but no college diploma. Its private student loan is best suited for students who expect to earn a consistent income after graduation.

Pros of MEFA:

  • Origination and application fees are not charged
  • Several repayment options available, including immediate payments, interest-only payments, and deferred payments
  • Available for co-signer release: Students who opt for a deferred repayment plan can have their cosigner removed from the loan after 48 consecutive on-time monthly payments and meeting creditworthiness requirements.

Cons of MEFA:

  • No interest rate reductions
  • No release of co-signer unless loan is refinanced

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a US citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in accordance with the requirements of your college or university
  • Have a creditworthy co-borrower on board who will share repayment responsibilities
  • The minimum credit score required for a loan is not disclosed

Repayment Terms

  • Immediate repayment is required
  • Allows for forgiveness
  • cosigners are released after 48 months
  • Two terms of loan repayment of 10, 15 years


How do I get student Loans for trade school? 

You can fill out the FAFSA and apply for federal student loan which have low and fixed interest rates. Or you can compare private lenders and review the best loan options for you. 

Does federal loan apply for trade school? 

Yes, federal student loans are available for all kinds of schools and colleges including trade schools. You can choose between direct subsidized, unsubsidized and Grad Plus loans. 

Which bank provides the best student loan for trade school?

Sallie Mae is likely the most well-known smart option student lender. Other options include College Ave for low interest rates and Ascent for flexible payment terms. You can review our comparison of different lenders to find the best option.