I’m originally from Wisconsin, and I was supposed to be at ERAU’s Daytona Beach campus right now, but a few weeks before my planned move date, I realized something extremely important: it is way too expensive. Don’t get me wrong, ERAU is the “best aeronautical university in the world,” sure, but “better” by how much? They have a hypoxia chamber? So does UND. They have updated, new aircraft? So does every other major 141 school. Basically, you’re paying all of that money for the name. When you apply for the airlines, they won’t care if you have an Aeronautical Sciences degree from ERAU, they won’t care if you have a Law degree from Harvard, and they won’t even care if you just have a 4-year marketing degree from your local technical college. If you send in the application and you can somehow manage to portray that you’re a hard worker and you meet all of the qualifications for the job, they’ll look at you. Our country needs pilots right now, so they won’t be pointing fingers at the “tech school” guy. I’ve talked to plenty of ERAU graduates, some of them in their early 40s, who say they still have debt (My PPL DPE graduated from Prescott decades ago, for example… still paying for it).
Here are my thoughts: don’t worry about the name of the school, and don’t worry if it’s the so-called “best.” There are plenty of universities that offer degrees in aviation-related fields and can also get you all of the necessary flight ratings. ERAU, UND, WMU, MSU, SLU, and more… they’ll all get you to the airlines. Look at the schools, travel to them, and tour them, and see which one you like the best. Ignore the price and ignore the titles it holds. If you see an aviation program you absolutely love at some school you’ve never heard of and you know it will get you to the exact same place as any other highly-rated flight school would, go to that school.
I withdrew my enrollment from ERAU because, compared to its competitors, the price scared me away. I’m going to Minnesota State University of Mankato, getting the exact same education, I’m paying half the price, and I just officially started this semester (mind you, I came with a PPL and a few college credits), and I’m on track to be in the right seat of a jet in about 3 years.
There are other good options. You just have to look for them.