student assistance programs
Covering the cost of your future
Southwest Truck Driver Training understands that not everyone can pay cash outright to go to school, and for these students, we offer several sources to assist with CDL training cost.
If you have questions about Student Financial Aid please call us: 888-556-5708
Southwest Truck Driver Training is a training provider for the WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act). We have been successful in training thousands of agency students from Pima County One-Stop Centers, DES Vocational Rehabilitation, DES Jobs, Santa Cruz Workforce, Maricopa Workforce Connection, Phoenix Workforce Connection, City of Phoenix, Friendly House, Job Connect, Goodwill and many others. Contact an Admissions Representative to find out more about available grants.
For students who do not meet state grant requirements, Southwest Truck Driver Training offers an in-house tuition program to help meet your needs. We offer affordable payment plans to suit your needs. Loans payments typically do not start until 45 days after graduation which gives you time to secure a driving position before making any payment. Contact a Financial Aid Representative to find out more about this program.
How to Pay for Trucking School
With a current shortage of truck drivers and many existing drivers nearing the age of retirement, pursuing a career as a truck driver can be a promising one for job security. To break into this field, a CDL (or Commercial Driver’s License) is a requirement. While a standard noncommercial driver's license is fairly easy to obtain, the process for a commercial driver’s license is much more involved and rigorous. Many states require proof that a commercial truck driving school has been completed prior to obtaining a CDL. Beginning in Feb. 2022, the federal government will begin requiring CDL training for anyone obtaining an entry-level CDL Class A or CDL Class B.
While investing in truck driving school to get a CDL is nowhere as costly as the entry-level cost of education in other industries, the cost of truck driving school can still be beyond some students' ability to pay. Fortunately, there are several options available to reduce the financial burden for those who are interested in CDL training.
What Is the Cost of Trucking School?
Much like traditional or career colleges, there are several variables that affect the price of truck driving school, which makes it difficult to give a simple answer to the question: how much does trucking school cost? Different schools have different teaching methods as well as state-mandated practices when it comes to its curriculum. Likewise, some schools offering CDL training publicly funded while others--such as Southwest Truck Driver Training--are private institutions. Although publicly funded options are generally less expensive than private ones, public institutions may have limited class starts, or in some cases may offer programs that take significantly longer to complete.
When choosing a truck driving school, cost is certainly not the only consideration. Also think about the truck driving school’s job placement record, the type of equipment they have available, the type of CDL licenses they offer training for, and whether they provide lodging or other desirable amenities to students. On the lower end of the spectrum, students can expect to pay around $3,000 for a truck driver training program, while on the higher end, the costs may exceed $10,000. Those who are attending trucking school should also take other costs like CDL application fees, the cost of the license, endorsements, and road test fees into account, as they will also be required.
Is Federal Financial Aid Available for Trucking School?
Unfortunately, the federal financial aid programs (including Pell grants and federal student loans) that are offered to students who attend colleges and universities is typically not applicable when it comes to pursuing an education as a truck driver. This is because an educational institution must meet a number of requirements for its students to obtain federal financial aid, such as being a Title IV institution and offering a program that is at least 16 weeks long (which is longer than pretty much any CDL certificate program). Although it would be rare, it can be possible for a Title IV school, such as a community college, to offer a CDL training program that does allow students to qualify for federal financial aid.
Can You Take Out a Loan for Trucking School?
Depending on your credit score, it is possible to qualify for a private loan to cover the cost of a truck driving school. Many lenders are available for such personal loans, but be sure to assess how much you will pay in interest over time and ensure that you feel confident making the payments on time. Generally, interest rates with private lenders will be costly for those with less than stellar credit. Also, be sure that you meet the requirements of the lender before applying, as having several lenders run your credit can negatively impact your score.
Are Truck Driving Scholarships Available?
Some scholarships are available to offset the costs of truck driving school. Your best bet for securing one is to search specifically within your state or county online, and include searches for scholarships that pay for vocational and career training in general, not specifically trucking school. There are many adults who wish to continue their education through various certifications or educational programs that may qualify. If you're from a certain background or affinity group, you may find that there are scholarship options for you, such as for women and veterans. If you're serious about getting free money for your trucking school tuition, apply for all of the scholarships that you qualify for.
How Can I Go to Trucking School For Free?
One of the most popular ways to pay for CDL training, if you are worried about how much trucking school costs, is to find an employer that offers company-paid training in exchange for a set period of time working for them after you get your CDL. While you will avoid the initial cost of trucking school, these employers will have a strict set of requirements during and after the training is completed. For instance, if you leave the company before the time frame stated within your contract is up, you likely will have to reimburse the employer for some of the costs associated with the program.
Employers offering company-paid training may also require that you remain at their training facility throughout the duration of the program. In these instances, you will likely incur additional costs for lodging and amenities offered and usually will not be paid for your time. If you are considering this option to pay for the costs of trucking school, be sure that you are clear and on board with all the stipulations set in place by the employer before signing up. Learn more about the tradeoffs of company-paid CDL training and independent trucking schools.
Tuition Reimbursement for Trucking School
Some trucking companies will offer tuition reimbursement if you get hired by them after you earn your CDL. Some employers may also offer reimbursement for new drivers; however, this payment will only be made after you have remained employed with the company for a certain period. Furthermore, employers who offer tuition reimbursement may pay you back the cost of trucking school by adding the funds slowly to your paychecks or by making monthly payments. This is important to keep in mind if you have a loan that is accruing interest and are counting on reimbursement to settle your loan or tuition costs quickly after gaining employment as a truck driver.
Working With Your School on Tuition
Before discounting the possibility of trucking school because of the price tag, it can never hurt to discuss financial payment options with the trucking school of your choice. You're certainly not the only one worried about how to pay for trucking school, and staff members at schools such as Southwest Truck Driver Training are used to working with students who have the desire but not the ready cash for tuition. Between installment payment plans and VA benefits for those who are military veterans, there is likely some kind of solution to paying for your CDL training. Despite the costs of trucking school, it can lead to a very rewarding career path that offers immense stability and benefits.