How to Choose a Mortgage Underwriting School

Since mortgage underwriting is only one aspect of mortgage loan processing, programs at most schools train students in other fundamental mortgage banking skills besides mortgage underwriting. Students can earn certificates, associate's degrees or bachelor's degrees in preparation for a career.

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Underwriting is a process mortgage lenders use to evaluate if the risk of offering a loan to a specific individual is acceptable and generally looks at credit, capacity and collateral. There are several elements of this process that an underwriter must understand and therefore many programs have been created to facilitate this understanding.

10 Schools with Mortgage Underwriting Programs

While many schools have programs that will prepare mortgage underwriters, below are some of the most reputable.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered*,** Tuition (2015-2016)**
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private Master's, Certificate Certificate: $10,200; Graduate: $42,874
Boston University Boston, MA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate: $48,436; Graduate: $48,082
City University of New York-York College Jamaica, NY 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's $6,784 in-state; $13,858 out-of-state
San Diego State University San Diego, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's Undergraduate: $6,976 in-state, $18,136 out-of-state; Graduate: $8,242 in-state, $17,170 out-of-state
Austin Community College Austin, TX 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $9,210 in-state; $11,340 out-of-state
Arapahoe Community College Littleton, CO 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $3,334 in-state; $13,052 out-of-state
Eastern Illinois University Charleston, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's Undergraduate: $11,312 in-state, $13,442 out-of-state; Graduate: $9,461 in-state, $19,037 out-of-state
Diablo Valley Community College Pleasant Hill, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $1,298 in-state; $7,542 out-of-state
University of Texas-Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate: $9,806 in-state, $34,676 out-of-state; Graduate: $10,934 in-state, $20,762 out-of-state
San Diego City College San Diego, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $1,142 in-state; $4,670 out-of-state

Sources: *School websites, **National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

Students interested in mortgage underwriting can complete a certificate program or an undergraduate degree program in preparation for a career in mortgage banking. Mortgage underwriters can find employment at banks, financial firms or agencies.

Some things to consider when selecting a mortgage underwriting school:

  • Some states require real estate and financial professionals, such as mortgage brokers, loan officers and real estate brokers, to be licensed and so it is important that a certificate or degree program provide students with preparation for licensure examinations, and that the curriculum is up-to-date in relation to industry regulations.
  • Students may benefit from programs that have connections to professional organizations and should investigate whether faculty in prospective programs is made up of industry professionals who incorporate their real-world experience into their teaching methods to give students a comprehensive understanding of a career in mortgage underwriting, as well as how to prepare for it.
  • Certificate and associate's degree programs are available in finance, mortgage banking and real estate at many colleges and universities.

Certificate Programs for Mortgage Underwriting

Certificate programs are offered in areas like mortgage banking, mortgage finance and real estate finance. Programs focus on specific skill sets and prepare graduates for entry-level mortgage banking jobs in a variety of financial organizations. Courses in some certificate programs can be transferred to undergraduate programs.

Associate's Degree Programs for Mortgage Underwriting

Associate's degree programs in real estate, financial services and mortgage banking build on a foundational understanding of loan processing through coursework in real estate and business. Additional courses include subjects such as closing, loan servicing, computer applications, communications, and law.

Bachelor's Degree Programs for Mortgage Underwriting

Applicable bachelor's degree programs are generally business degrees with a related concentration, such as a Bachelor of Science in Business with a major in finance or a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in real estate. These programs prepare students for a variety of finance and real estate careers that incorporate mortgage underwriting. Curricula in these types of programs include courses in information systems, investment, marketing, tax planning, and securities.

When deciding on the most appropriate programs to prepare for a career in mortgage underwriting an individual must consider location, time availability, and future goals. Most programs include coursework related to accounting, law, and communications.

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