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Financial Institutions and Specialty Lenders

KeyBank is a multi-faceted banking and financial services center. When it comes to financing IT education, it offers a special Key Career Loan. There are no application or processing fees; it also features a low interest rate, with no pre-payment penalties. Such loans may be used for classes, books, hardware, software, and living expenses. You can apply online or over the phone at (800) 828-3509 (choose Option 2). For more information, visit http://www.keybank.com/templates/t-ps2.jhtml?nodeID=H-1.32.b3&link=bullet3.

Servus Financial Corp. is a backing company behind numerous types of loan programs, not just those related to IT education. The Microsoft/IT Skills Loan program is just one of its IT education funding programs. Other programs include general IT education funding, loans to purchase computers, undergraduate and graduate educational loans, and loan consolidation services. In most cases, loans may be used for both education and living expenses, and have an aggregate maximum of $100,000 per person, requiring payback within 20 years. Several Servus plans offer deferment options of up to seven years.

To apply for a Servus-backed loan, you must go through one of its clients or partners, such as the Microsoft/IT Skills Loan program (http://www.itloan.com/), Apple Instant Loans (http://www.apple.com/ or [800] MY-APPLE), or SunTrust eSeriesSM Education Loans (http://www.suntrust.com/). Information on the Servus organization may be found on its Web site at http://www.servus.com/.

Techloan is an online IT financing organization whose primary focus is to provide funds for eager students to obtain and complete an IT education. Funds from Techloan are tied to some educational facility; in other words, you must be enrolled in a partnered educational facility as a prerequisite to qualifying for financial aid. Some of the partners include CompUSA, ExecuTrain, New Horizons, and TechSkills. Techloan's program offers an unsecured revolving line of credit of up to $25,000. These funds are restricted for educational use only and must be paid directly to the trainer or education company for the first 24 months of the program.

The first 24 months of a Techloan credit line have a fixed 12.99 percent interest rate; after the first 24 months, it becomes a variable rate set at the prime lending rate plus 5.49 percent. There is a 7 percent transaction fee added to each use of the credit line, but there is no application or origination fee. There are no deferments or extensions to loan payments allowed, either.

There are two payment plans for Techloan repayments: (a) no payments for six months, then the greater of 2.5 percent of the outstanding balance or $25 thereafter; or (b) interest only for the first 24 months, then the greater of 2 percent of the outstanding balance or $25 thereafter. After the initial 24 months, a Techloan credit line may be converted to a general credit line following credit approval. You can apply online or obtain more information about Techloan at http://www.techloan.com/.

Green Thumb is a workforce and training organization that focuses on helping mature and disadvantaged workers obtain new careers and education. The programs do not focus exclusively on IT retraining, but they offer helpful programs for those who qualify. Through backing by the U.S. Department of Labor and Microsoft, Green Thumb offers discounted educational services to seniors and other disadvantaged individuals. Financial incentives are handled on a case-by-case basis, but you can apply online for more information about the Green Thumb offerings at http://www.greenthumb.org/IT/index.html.

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