Are you considering getting a commercial driver’s license at a CDL school? Then you may need financial assistance to help pay for the program. Where can you look?
Typically, truck driving schools cost between $5,000 and $10,000. This is expensive for both the student and employer!
CNS Driver Training Center, on the other hand, offers first-class 1-on-1 CDL training tailored to your needs and, depending on your experience, at 30% to 70% off the price of big CDL schools.
But you still may need financial assistance to help pay for the training.
Well, truck driving schools are treated just like any other trade school when it comes to financial aid.
- Company Sponsored Contract Training (“free” CDL Training)
- Pell grants and Federal Student Aid
- Federal and state CDL grants
- CDL Trucking Scholarships
- Military programs
- Private student loans, and
We will cover each of these tools to help you get financial assistance to cover CDL school training costs.
Company Sponsored Contract Training
Everyone wants to know about “free” CDL training, but what are your actual options?
Well, many companies will offer to pay for your CDL training, but require you to sign a contract stating that you will drive for the company for at least a year. For younger drivers, this is generally a good thing since you have a job right away and can gather important driving experience.
Additionally, companies might offer CDL training tuition reimbursements, internal company CDL training, or pay up-front for you to attend a nearby training center.
There are many benefits here, including the fact that these companies have invested in you and your success, can give you a job right away, can train you immediately on their company’s procedures and expectations, and can often offer fast CDL training.
Our Company Contract Training can be utilized by companies looking to train drivers, company owners who want their CDL, or individuals starting their own company and needing a CDL to get started (Class A CDL, Class B CDL, or Hotshot).
Fleets we recommend that will pay for your CDL training include Rohrer’s Quarry – Lititz, PA, but there are other local Trucking Jobs in our area.
Pell Grants and Federal Student Aid
Pell grants are unlike traditional loans, they do not require repayment. Instead, they provide federally subsidized assistance to students who:
- Have limited financial resources
- Haven’t earned a bachelor’s degree
- Plan on attending training at a participating institution
To be eligible for the Pell grant, students must:
- Demonstrate significant financial need
- Be enrolled in an eligible program (not all CDL programs qualify)
- Possess a high school diploma or GED
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- Have a valid social security number
- Not currently be in default on a past Federal Direct Student or PLUS loan
- Not have a criminal record
At this time, CNS Driver Training Center of PA does not qualify for Pell Grants for 2023-2024.
There are three steps when applying for a Pell Grant:
- Research trucking schools that qualifies for the Pell Grant by going to the Federal Student Aid website, which allows you to explore schools that participate in the Title IV federal program.
- After finding a truck driving school, you can apply for a Pell Grant by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. Schools use the information on the FAFSA® form to determine your eligibility for a Pell Grant, and if so, how much you’re eligible to receive. You will first have to create an account for an FSA ID.
- Wait for the Department of Education to review your application to determine if and how much financial assistance you can receive to cover your educational expenses.
But don’t stop here. There are many other options to consider.
Federal and State CDL Grants
Both the federal and state governments offer a number of workforce retraining programs, through the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA), for those who’ve lost their jobs due to:
- Lay offs
- Business bankruptcies
- Natural disasters like hurricanes
Many state agencies partner with the Department of Labor to administer these programs, and most include approved truck driver training schools.
To find a program in your state, use the WIOA-eligible training program finder tool.
Pennsylvania State Grant Program
To be considered for a PA State Grant, you must fill out the FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and complete the PA State Grant Form. Most renewal students do not have to complete the PA State Grant Form.
As the Student applying for a Pennsylvania State Grant, here’s some information that you’ll want to have ready.
- If applicable, the month and year your diploma was received (for High School or GED).
- If married, your spouse’s 9-digit Social Security Number.
- If you have a savings account through PA 529, you may need a recent account statement for the total savings, or visit pa529.com.
What about scholarships?
CDL Trucking Scholarships
Scholarships are usually from private organizations or individuals and the money given out is based on need, merit, or some other criteria.
Below are three regular CDL scholarships and how to apply for them.
AllTruckJobs.com offers two yearly scholarships as an opportunity to encourage more people to become truck drivers and a way to give back to the trucking community that has (and continues) to give us, and America, so much.
AllTruckJobs.com is awarding one (1) $1,000 trucking scholarship to truck drivers for the Fall 2023 semester, and one (1) $1,000 trucking scholarship to truck drivers for the Spring 2024 semester.
Eligible applicants should write a compelling essay that is:
- 500 – 1,000 words
- Your personal story
- As part of that story, explain what inspired you to become a truck driver.
- Share how this trucking scholarship will help you achieve this goal.
For more information on the specific details of the application process, check out their scholarship page.
Women’s Transportation Seminar’s International Scholarships
Women’s Transportation Seminar’s (WTS) International seeks to promote lifelong careers in transportation by attracting, retaining, and advancing women in the industry.
Every year, the organization’s local chapters award thousands of dollars in scholarships to encourage and support the exceptional women who are pursuing careers in a STEM or transportation-related field.
The scholarships are competitive and based on the applicants’ specific goals, academic achievements, and transportation-related activities.
In Pennsylvania, there are three chapters:
- Central PA Chapter – Scholarships page
- Philadelphia Chapter – Scholarships page
- Pittsburg Chapter – Scholarships page
For Central Pennsylvania, applicants can apply for one or more of the following scholarships (click on scholarship name for application and instructions):
- WTS Central PA Chapter – Colleen Brown High School Senior Scholarship* (see below)
- Trade School/Jr. College Scholarship (certificate or Associate’s degree)
Women in Trucking Foundation Scholarships
There is also the Women In Trucking Foundation that offers scholarships for any female who will be attending a training facility for the purpose of advancing their career in the areas of safety, driving, technical, or leadership in the trucking industry.
Applicants must complete the scholarship application, including an essay section outlining career objectives and how this training will help meet those goals.
An approved scholarship from the Women In Trucking Foundation will be awarded as a onetime payment in the amount of $1,000 per recipient.
The recipients of scholarships must have financial need and demonstrate a desire to further their careers in the trucking industry.
The scholarship will be awarded without regard to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion.
Recipients must provide their student ID number and a contact at their school’s Financial Aid office to receive the award.
If you are serving in the military and looking for a new career in the trucking or transportation industry, we would love to have you!
There are seventeen programs that help miliary veterans to transition to a new career. Many of these programs can be used to explore and simplify the transition into a career in trucking or transportation.
Private Student Loans
Private student loans are granted by private lenders and can be used for CDL trucking schools.
These loans are always an option but should be applied for only if scholarships and grants aren’t available since this money will eventually need to be paid back.
When you take out a loan, the money is given to the school by the bank or lending institution.
The school will then apply the money towards your bill and give you the difference if there is one. In some cases, the bank may give the money directly to you, and then you pay for the school.
Depending on the actual loan you take out, you will either start repaying it as soon as you complete schooling or a set number of months after you graduate.
The latter is the better option because it can give you time to find a job and start getting money coming in.
Three popular companies offering private loans for career training or trade schools are:
- Sallie Mae’s Smart Option Student Loan® for Career Training
- College Ave offers private student loans for trade schools
- Climb Credit offers career-advancing education