Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I have been financially affected by COVID-19. What are my repayment options?
For customers financially impacted by COVID-19, our servicers offer forbearance options.
If your job or income has been affected by COVID-19 and you are concerned about your ability to make loan payments, we encourage you to reach out to your loan servicer to learn about your options. Skills Fund works with two loan servicers, and both are ready to help those who have been financially impacted. If you’re not sure how to get in touch with your servicer, please visit our payment guide.
Q: How do I make payments on my Skills Fund loan?
Aspire and Launch are the loan servicers for Skills Fund’s loans. This means Aspire or Launch will collect your monthly payments during the repayment phase of your loan. All loans applied for before June 9th, 2019 will be serviced by Aspire. All loans applied for on or after June 10th, 2019 will be serviced by Launch.
Need to pay your loan? Have a question about repayment on an existing loan?
- If you applied for your loan before June 9th, 2019, visit Aspire online or at 1-800-243-7552.
- If you applied for your loan on or after June 10th, 2019, visit Launch online or at 877-354-2629.
The timing of your payments depends on your loan type.
- For Interest-only Loans, you will make interest-only payments while in program and for three months of grace. You will start making full (interest + principal) payments three months after your program ends.
- For Immediate Repayment Loans, you will start making payments roughly one month after your loan is disbursed (which occurs on the second Wednesday after program start.)
- For Deferred Repayment Loans, you will make no payments while you’re in school and for three months after. Then you’ll start making full payments (interest + principal).
For Thinkful Deferred Tuition Loans (only available for flex programs at Thinkful), you will make no payments for up to a year after you complete your program, or when you receive a qualifying job offer as determined by the Thinkful Tuition Refund Guarantee. Then you'll start making full payments (interest + principal). Available for Thinkful Flex programs only, additional terms apply. Learn more.
You can find more information about repayment amounts and scheduling on your specific school's partner website.
For more info, go to: How Do I Pay Back My Skills Fund Loan
Q: How do I apply for a Skills Fund loan?
Q: When can I apply for a loan?
You can apply for the loan after your acceptance into a program.
Your program cohort must begin within 90 days of the date that you apply for a loan.
Q: Who is Skills Fund?
We are a team of higher ed, consumer protection, and student loan industry leaders, committed to revolutionizing higher education for the benefit of students of all backgrounds and walks of life. Our goal is simple: build the best financing tools for the best outcomes-focused schools and their students.
In partnership with leading skills training programs, Skills Fund created a financing platform that is both transparent and student-first, to provide all students an experience radically different than traditional student loans. In order for all educational actors to keep an eye to student success, our model uniquely requires skin in the game from the school, lender, and quality assurance entity.
Q: How do you pick schools to work with?
We start by asking schools the right questions about their application process, acceptance rates, curriculum, the qualifications of their staff, and student outcomes.
Then, together with our strategic financing partner, Goal Solutions, we perform an extensive evaluation to ensure every school we partner with is setting the bar high and paving the way for student success.
Q: Have you ever stopped working with a school?
Yes, several of them. While we’re mindful of the fact that Skills Fund isn't a government regulator or an accreditor, we commit to doing our absolute best to ensure we're only partnering with schools that deliver a tangible Return On Education. (That’s our way of saying you get your money’s worth and can start a better future.)
Despite our diligent efforts, sometimes we're just not a fit - culturally or operationally. Other times, we have concerns that a school will not be able to deliver on the promises they’ve made to students.
For this reason, our quality assurance efforts are continuous and never ending. We’re always checking up on our partners. We believe every student deserves their maximum Return On Education, and we're committed to making it happen for students from across the country.
Q: Will I qualify for a Skills Fund loan?
Our goal at Skills Fund is to help students from all walks of life and with a broad range of backgrounds get access to the programs that interest them. We offer two possible ways to qualify for a Skills Fund loan: on your own or with a cosigner. Adding a cosigner can help strengthen your application’s overall credit health, and may even help lower your loan’s interest rate, APR, or monthly payments.
Skills Fund applicants must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident with established credit history and no outstanding educational loan defaults. A student who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident or has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status may apply with a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident.
To see if you pre-qualify for a Skills Fund loan, submit an application. In the pre-qualification process, we’ll conduct a soft credit check with no impact to your credit score. In addition to learning more about your eligibility, you can also see the rates and terms you pre-qualify for.
While our application process asks for income and employment details, we won’t use income, employment, or your requested loan amount to evaluate your application.
Q: Can non-U.S. citizens apply?
Yes. A student who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident or has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status may apply with a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident.
Non-U.S. citizens are required to upload the following documentation to verify identity as applicable to your individual resident status:
1) U.S. Permanent Resident Aliens: Permanent Resident Card (USCIS form I‐551); or
2) Non-Permanent Resident Aliens (temporary residents): Valid visa – acceptable forms: F-1; J-1, M-1; E-1; H-1; L-1; G series; TN-1; TN-2; OR I-20 Form (pages 1 & 2 signed) AND Unexpired Passport from country of origin; and,
In addition to (1) or (2) above, applicants must upload the following:
a. Unexpired foreign passport; and
b. A copy of government issued document or identification that includes your national identification number. NOTE – For countries that include the national identification number on the passport, confirmation therein is sufficient.
3) DACA status: Documentation from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security / U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that indicates DACA status that does not expire before the end of the enrollment period for which the loan is being requested.
Q: Can I add a cosigner?
Yes, you can add a cosigner to your loan. There are two ways to qualify for a Skills Fund loan: on your own, or with a cosigner. Depending upon your credit health, a cosigner might be required. Cosigners may strengthen your application’s overall credit health. In some scenarios, adding a cosigner may reduce your interest rate and lower your payments. If you’re concerned about your eligibility for a Skills Fund loan, consider adding a cosigner with strong credit health. Additionally, a student who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident or has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status may apply with a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident.
We’ve made this process easy. You can choose to add a cosigner before you submit your loan application, or may be given the option to add a cosigner after you apply.
If you’d like to add a cosigner when you apply, you can select this option in the application. If your cosigner is with you, they can start their portion of the application right away. If not, we’ll send them an email asking them to complete their part. Your cosigner’s portion of the application will look very similar to yours.
We’ll keep you and your cosigner updated on the status of your application throughout the process. You’ll receive an email or a notification in the application if you or your cosigner have any required steps to take.
For more information, read our guide to finding the right cosigner.
Q: What are your interest rates?
We work with our partner schools to ensure students have access to competitive financing. To see the fixed interest rates and APRs currently available for your school and program, visit your school’s Skills Fund partnership page.
Q: What’s the difference between fixed rates and variable rates?
Your interest rate is the base cost of borrowing money for the duration of your loan and is a percentage of the principal loan amount. It can be fixed (it will not change) or variable (it could change over time). Variable interest rates can increase or decrease throughout the life of your loan, which may result in your monthly payment changing over time. All Skills Fund loans are fixed rate – your rate won’t go up!
Q: What information do I need to provide to Skills Fund?
During the loan application process, we will ask you for the following information:
Email address and other contact information
Social Security Number
Date of birth
Loan amount requested
One personal reference
Cosigner name and contact information (if applying with a cosigner)
Citizenship / Permanent Resident (Green Card) status
Current income (not a factor in credit decision)
Current employment status (not a factor in credit decision)
Q: I need financing for tuition and the cost of living. How do I select the amount for each?
Within the loan application, you will find two fields for financing: one for tuition and one for cost of living.
Within each field, you can enter the precise amount you would like to borrow. Cost of living financing is not available for some schools.
Q: Can I apply for a loan for the cost of living only?
No, students must apply for at least $2,000 in tuition financing in order to add cost of living financing. However, at select schools, a student is only eligible to borrow cost of living funds. Please see your specific school's Skills Fund site for further information.
Q: What is the status of my application?
You can save your progress in the application and return to it at any time. To see the status of your loan application, visit your Skills Fund dashboard. We’ll also send you emails throughout the process to keep you updated.
Q: Can I pay off my loan faster than the initial term?
Yes, you can pre-pay your loan at any time without penalty.
Q: Why should I enroll in Autopay?
For loans originated starting in 2020, students have the option to enroll in Autopay with our payment processor, Launch Servicing. There are numerous benefits for enabling Autopay:
- Save on interest. You will receive a .25% reduction in the interest rate on your loan as long as you remain signed up for Autopay.
- Avoid late fees. With Autopay, your monthly loan payments are automatic, so you never have to worry about missing a payment and incurring late fees.
- Protect your credit. By ensuring on-time payments, Autopay protects your credit from missed payments.
And remember, there are no restrictions on pre-payment, so in addition to your automatic payments, you can also pay down your loan early which will reduce the total amount of interest you will pay over the life of the loan.
Interest rate reduction of 0.25% applies only when the borrower and/or cosigner sign up for automatic payments and the payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account each month. Interest rate reduction(s) will not apply during periods when no payment is due, including periods of in-school, deferment, grace or forbearance, unless a regular payment amount has been arranged with the servicer. If you have two (2) consecutive returned payments for Nonsufficient Funds, we may cancel your automatic debit enrollment and you will lose the interest rate reduction. You will then need to re-qualify and re-enroll in automatic debit payments to receive the interest rate reduction. (See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)
Q: Will Skills Fund check my credit?
Yes. Skills Fund will conduct an initial soft credit check so you can see the rates, terms, and payments you pre-qualify for. Unlike hard credit checks, soft credit checks do not appear on your credit report and will not impact your credit score.
After you preview your rates, you can choose a loan option and continue your application. If you continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit check. Before we conduct a hard credit check, the application will ask for your consent. No surprises here!
Q: How and when will I receive my funds?
We send your funds (tuition + any living expense funds) on the second Wednesday after your program starts. On that day, the tuition portion of your loan is sent directly to your school and any living expense funds are sent directly to you. Please see your specific school's Skills Fund site for further information, as this may vary for your school.
Q: Can I get a loan if I have a scholarship?
Yes, you may apply for financing in parallel to applying for your scholarship.
If you are awarded your scholarship prior to the disbursement of your tuition financing to your school, please email CustomerTrust@Skills.Fund with the amount of your scholarship, and your loan for tuition will be downward adjusted.
Should you receive your scholarship following the second Wednesday after program start, you can apply your funds to your loan balance at any time without pre-payment penalty.
Please note: Should you want to apply for a scholarship, it is recommended to apply for max tuition financing, and once your scholarship is awarded, Skills Fund can downward adjust your requested tuition financing. This will prevent you having to apply for additional funds, should you not be awarded your scholarship, as loans may not be upward adjusted. Simply email CustomerTrust@Skills.Fund with your approved scholarship amount.
Q: What happens to my loan if I drop out of my program?
While it is our hope that every student graduates and finds an awesome job in your chosen field, we understand that other circumstances may intervene.
Regarding your tuition: You are responsible for the full amount you borrow, plus accrued interest and fees. If you are owed a refund by your partner school, the refund transaction will be made to Skills Fund in the amount of the refund due (but in no event greater than what that we paid to the school on your behalf). If there is a balance on your loan after any applied refund, you will be required to immediately start making monthly payments for the balance. For Deferred Repayment, Interest-Only Repayment, Immediate Repayment loans, you will immediately begin making full payments (interest + principal) when you withdraw from your program. For Thinkful Deferred Tuition loans (only available for flex programs at Thinkful), you will have a 3 month grace period after withdrawing from your program before you begin making payments.
Regarding your cost of living: Because you've received the funds, you're responsible for repaying them to Skills Fund. If there is a balance on your loan after any applied refund, you will be required to immediately start making monthly payments for the balance.
Q: How can I cancel my loan?
If you applied for a loan before December 26th, 2019, please email CustomerTrust@Skills.Fund to request a loan cancellation. If you applied for your loan on or after December 26th, 2019, log in to your Skills Fund account to cancel your loan.
Q: Who is Richland State Bank and how is it related to Skills Fund?
Richland State Bank is the lender for all Skills Fund loans.
Q: Who are Aspire and Launch, how are they related to Skills Fund?
Aspire and Launch are the loan servicers for Skills Fund loans. This means Aspire or Launch will collect your monthly payments during the repayment phase of your loan. All loans applied for before June 9th, 2019 will be serviced by Aspire. All loans applied for on or after June 10th, 2019 will be serviced by Launch.
Need to pay your loan? Have a question about repayment on an existing loan?
If you applied for your loan before June 9th, 2019, visit Aspire online or at 1-800-243-7552.
If you applied for your loan on or after June 10th, 2019, visit Launch online or at 877-354-2629.
Q: I have more questions, who can I ask?