You have finally decided that you are taking a new career path: you want to become a truck driver. But there is one thing that is holding you back; the cost of truck driving schools! Your current job pays you peanuts and you have not yet accumulated enough savings to pay for a decent truck driving school. It doesn’t seem feasible that you will be able to pay for it all out of your pocket. Well, we have some good news for you: you really don’t have to. Truck driving school is similar to technical schools or colleges in that you can get some financial assistance in the form of loans, scholarships and grants.
Another advantage of getting a CDL is employment. Data shows that the need for CDL drivers is ever increasing , so though you will have to spend some time and money acquiring your CDL license, you will get the money used on the training sooner or later. Here are some financing options available for anyone who would like a CDL but can’t afford to pay for it out of their pockets.
The Pell grant is probably one of the most well known methods one can pay for trucker driver school. It was founded in 1972and was first known as the basic educational opportunity grant. It was created to assist students from lower financial backgrounds access higher education. This is how it works: the government provides a given amount of money to every post-secondary institution each year. The college then distributes the grant money to those students who qualify for the grant money. However, to get this grant, you should attend a public school and not a private one. And most truck driver schools are private! If you are not sure whether you will get this grant in the school you want to join, ask the financial office if they are private or public. Also bear in mind that the Pell grant cannot be issued to shortened CDL courses. A student must be in school for at least 24 weeks to qualify.
Company Grants or Loans
This is also a great option if you are currently employed. It may be through loans and grants made available with your company. Some big companies provide incentives to their employees for education and training. Truck driving courses may be part of their approved programs. Talk to your human resource department and ask them if they provide any funding for truck driving courses.
Native Americans Funding
Most of Native American students qualify for funding through their tribal council. These programs will pay the total amount of tuition fee for truck driving school so it’s important to check with your local council for the qualifications and requirements. If any of your immediate family members are union members or were once union members, you may have some funds in an educational annuity. Most people think of using their educational annuity for higher learning but the same can also be used for vocational training such as truck driving school.
Most truck driving schools provide loans through various financial companies that they work with. These loans can be accessed by individuals who have a bad credit with a co-signer. However, you should be cautious because some of the loans have extremely high interest rates. Just know what you are agreeing to before you put your signature in.
Company Sponsored CDL Training
Most truck driving schools provide contract training. Contract training which is also referred to as Company-Sponsored Training, is when a trucking company provides you with free or affordable training. However, to return the favor, you will have to sign a contract with the company that you will work for them after you finish your training for a given period of time mostly a year or more. If you don’t keep part of your bargain, you will have to pay back the total cost of your training fees and sometimes, there are fines to pay.
Company sponsored CDL training can be a great way to get your CDL, but it shouldn’t be your first choice. Contract training involves a detailed contract that is complicated and highly favors the company than you. Some of these contracts have high amounts of interest and inflated pricing for the training you will get. This may not really be a big deal, unless you will not be able to work for the company after your training.
Clearly, when you are signing a contract, you expect to keep your end of the bargain, but there are some factors that may make it impossible. For instance you may fall ill or have a family emergency and thus not be able to abide by the terms of the contract. It’s important to review the sections that talk about your capabilities to get a CDL. There are those contracts that mention that you can get expelled even before you complete your training and you will reimburse the company the total cost of training. Therefore, it’s important to read all the details of the contract. You cannot afford not to.
After graduating, you should drive for the same company for an entire year, accident free but by signing the contract, you will be compromising your capability to move to better paying opportunities should they arise. When signing the contract, just be aware of what you are accepting.
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA Grant)
The department of labor (US) sponsors Trade Adjustment Assistance. Also known as TAA grant, they are often provided to assist displaced workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade.
If the department of labor determines that one has lost their job through no fault of their own, money is given for training and other benefits to the successful applicants. These grants can be used for CDL and vocational schools.
Use Credit Cards to pay for your CDL
Credit cards are an excellent way to fund your truck driving training. If your credit history is good, you can always get a new card that is interest free. Depending on the amount of time, you may have to pay off the total tuition before your card accrues any interest. Majority of truck driving schools will accept American Express, Visa, Discover and Mastercard.
Filling out forms and reading contracts may seem like a boring chore, but it’s worth the time spent especially when you finally get money for your truck driver school. When you get on the road earning lots of bucks, you will be happy that you spared some extra time to read and fill these forms.