Training & Certification Loans Overview

The Training & Certification Loan Program provides interest-free loans to low- and moderate-income residents of New York City’s five boroughs, Westchester, or Long Island to support expenses related to professional training, vocational school, or certification programs that will help a borrower build their skill set, improve their job prospects, and/or increase their income.

Since HFLS lends to households, a married couple is considered one borrower. If an applicant is married or partnered, he or she must include their spouse’s/partner’s information in the application.

Loan applicants must have annual pre-tax household income at or below the income limits for their household size. If your annual pre-tax household income is slightly above the limit in the chart below, please contact to speak with a Loan Officer about your specific situation; you may still qualify for an HFLS loan.

The program offers two different types of loans depending on the program cost and the borrower’s needs: 

  • General Training & Certification Loans if the program costs $7,500 or less and/or if the program is not accredited. Applicants may request up to $7,500 regardless of the program’s cost, and the funds may also be used to support living expenses for the duration of the program. Applicants must select this option if the training or certification program is not accredited, even if the cost of the program is higher than $7,500.
  • Accredited Training & Certification Loans of up to $15,000 to support program costs for longer-term and more expensive accredited training programs. The loan amount will be based on the program cost; applicants may not request a loan amount that is higher than the total cost of the program.

Repayment Terms

If the student is the borrower: The monthly loan repayment amount will be based on the borrower’s ability to repay until three months after the expected program completion date, after which the remaining balance is repaid in monthly installments of $300. Students may only be the borrower if they are financially independent from their parents.

If the borrower is a parent or guardian taking the loan to assist their child or dependent: Loans are repayable in monthly installments of $300 beginning the month after the loan is received. Parents should be the borrowers if their child is a dependent on their tax return.

All loans have a one-month grace period before repayments begin. Repayments are made on either the 5th or the 20th of each month; borrowers select their preference before HFLS disburses the loan. All loan repayments are made by electronic debit of a checking account.

Guarantor Information

Loans of up to $7,500 require one guarantor; loans of more than $7,500 require two guarantors. Both guarantors must complete and sign Guarantor Forms. A married couple is considered one guarantor. If a guarantor is married or partnered, his or her spouse/partner must also complete and sign the Guarantor Form.

Each guarantor is “jointly” and “severally” liable for the loan in the event a borrower is unable to pay for any reason. This means that, while HFLS would expect two guarantors to share equally in the responsibility of repaying a loan, each is liable legally for the full amount, and any one guarantor could be called upon to repay the balance due.

Guarantors must meet the following criteria:

  • US citizens or legal residents currently living in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut
  • Have a checking account, good credit, and pre-tax household income of at least $50,000 a year
  • Currently employed (HFLS prefers persons who have worked at least one year in their present position), or if retired, can demonstrate their ability to repay through pension/retirement income or assets.

Even if they meet the requirements above, the following people may not guarantee a loan:

  • You, your spouse/partner, or your dependents
  • Persons who currently have an HFLS loan or are a guarantor on an HFLS loan
  • Persons who are financially unable to repay the loan

Loan Documents & Interview

The information and documents below are required for a Training & Certification Loan. 

From the borrower:

  • Online Loan Application submitted by the applicant and including information for their spouse or partner, if relevant. The Training & Certification Loan online application can be found under Apply Now below. 
  • Proof of enrollment in the school or program.
    If the applicant cannot register until they know whether their HFLS loan request is approved, they should state this in their loan application. HFLS will review their loan request and, if it is approved, provide them with a confirmation letter stating that HFLS will provide a loan of the amount requested upon receiving proof of enrollment from the applicant.
    • Documentation of the program accreditation or license, graduation or completion rate, and job placement information, if applicable.
    • Documentation of any financial aid received, including government grants and loans or program stipends or discounts.
    • Copies of government-issued photo IDs that include signatures and serve as proof of address for the applicant and their spouse or partner, if relevant (e.g. a driver’s license). If the driver’s license does not include the applicant’s current address, HFLS may require other documentation as proof of residency.
    • The applicant’s most recent checking account statement (all pages), which must include the applicant’s name, bank name, checking account number, and routing number. If the routing number does not appear on the statement, the applicant may submit it separately.

    From the guarantors:

    • Online Guarantor Form submitted by the guarantor and including information for their spouse or partner, if relevant. The guarantor will receive an email including a unique link to an online Guarantor Form after the applicant submits their application.
    • Copies of government-issued photo IDs for the guarantors (and their spouses or partners, if relevant), e.g. a driver’s license or U.S. passport. HFLS may ask for proof of address if the ID does not provide it.

    After receiving your online loan application and guarantor forms, an HFLS Loan Officer will contact you to schedule a 15-minute loan interview (by phone).

    During the loan interview, an HFLS Loan Officer will review your application and other required documents with you, determine whether any additional information is needed, explain the loan closing process, and answer any questions you have.

    Due to the high volume of loan applications received by HFLS, we ask that you please do not contact HFLS regarding the status of your loan application. A Loan Officer will reach out to you directly as soon as possible.

    Loan Decisions & Closing

    HFLS reviews and decides on loan applications daily. If we have questions about your application or guarantor, you may receive a call or email from a Loan Officer asking for further information before HFLS will make its decision.

    HFLS, in its discretion, may decline to make a loan, make a loan in an amount less than that requested, or require different or additional guarantors.

    If your loan is approved, you will receive an email with loan closing documents for you to complete and sign electronically via DocuSign. The loan closing paperwork includes:

    • A Promissory Note, to be signed by the borrower, guarantor, and all spouses/partners
    • An Authorization of Automatic Payments (ACH) form, so the loan funds can be transferred directly into your checking account and so HFLS can withdraw monthly loan repayments directly from your checking account.

    Once HFLS receives the electronically signed documents above, we will disburse your loan funds directly into your checking account within three business days. (Please note that it may take a few extra days after the disbursement for the loan funds to appear in your checking account.)