The Ultimate Guide to Paying off Dental School Debt in 2018

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Updated on Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Part I: Dental School Debt in the U.S.

How much debt do dental students have?

The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) shares numerous statistics about dental school debt and the profound impact it can make on new dentists’ lives. According to the agency, the average dental school debt for indebted dental school graduates from the class of 2017 reached $287,331. Large debt loads were reported at both public schools and private schools — $239,895 and $341,190, respectively.

Even more startling is the fact that more than 30% of indebted dental graduates from the class of 2017 reported debt loads of more than $300,000.

These statistics show just how expensive dental school can be, but they also make us wonder if dental school is truly worth the cost. This guide was created to show how a dental education can pay off with proper loan and money management. If you’re considering a future in dental school and worrying about the high price tag, keep reading to learn more.

Are you a dental school graduate currently suffering from high-interest loans? Jump down to our top picks for refinancing your dental school debt.

Is dental school worth it?

Before anyone can gauge whether dental school is worth it, it’s crucial to consider the level of income one can expect in this career. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, dentists earned an annual mean wage of $173,860 nationally as of May 2016. It is important to note, however, that the bottom 10% of earners brought in only $67,690 that year, while the bottom 25% of earners made an average of $106,180.

The key to deciphering dentist income is figuring out how much you might earn after you gain some experience and the type of dentistry role you might take on. It’s only natural to expect dentists to earn more as they progress through their careers, but the industry they work in can also impact their earnings.

As the BLS reports, some industries paid dentists considerably more in 2016, including residential intellectual and developmental disability, mental health, and substance abuse facilities ($184,620) and offices of dentists ($176,470).

Location matters, too, of course. Some states reported consistently higher incomes for dentists that year, including Delaware ($236,130), North Carolina ($236,020), Alaska ($234,240), New Hampshire ($220,480), and Nevada ($210,690).

With these salaries in mind, it’s easier to see how one might overcome $200,000+ in educational debt compared to workers in other, lower-paying industries.

Still, it’s important to note that dental school debt can still make a big impact on any dentist’s finances after graduation. A dentist with the average debt load of $287,331 at 6% APR would need to fork over a minimum of $3,189.96 per month if they chose standard, 10-year loan repayment after graduation per LendingTree’s loan calculator (Note: LendingTree is the parent company of MagnifyMoney). Because of this, some dentists choose alternative repayment options that allow them to pay smaller monthly payments for a lengthier timeline. How long it takes a dental graduate to repay their debt depends on whether they choose standard, 10-year repayment or opt for an alternative repayment plan instead.

Is dental school right for you?

Part II: How to Pay for Dental School

If you answered “yes” to all or most of the questions above, considering a dental education could be a smart move. Still, it’s important to learn more about the different ways to pay for dental education and the debt repayment options that may be available to you. We’ll cover these concepts and more in this section.

Federal vs. Private Student Loans for Dental School

Federal student loans for dental school

Federal loans can be valuable for students who need to borrow money for dental education. Several different types of student loans are available, each having their own benefits and drawbacks. Federal student loans are often a good option for dental students since they offer relatively low interest rates and help students qualify for federal perks like income-driven repayment and student loan forgiveness programs.

Pros of federal student loans:

  • Fixed and competitive interest rates
  • Access to federal loan repayment and student loan forgiveness programs
  • The government can pay your interest while you’re in college if you qualify for subsidized loans
  • Flexible repayment plans
  • Access to student loan forbearance and deferment (if you qualify)
  • You don’t need a credit check to qualify for most federal student loans
  • You can defer repayment until you graduate college or drop down to half-time

Cons of federal student loans:

  • Borrowing caps that limit the amount of federal loans you can take out
  • You may need to take out more loans to cover the costs of dental school
  • The government can garnish your wages if you miss payments

When to consider federal student loans:

  • You are gearing up for dental school and want a low, fixed-interest rate
  • You haven’t surpassed borrowing limits on federal loans yet
  • You want options in terms of deferment, forbearance, and income-driven repayment in the future

Type of Loan


Interest Rates


How much you can
borrow each year

Perkins Loans

5%

Up to $5,500 per year for undergraduate students, depending on your financial need and other aid you receive; up to $8,000 per year for graduate students

Direct Subsidized Loans

4.45% for undergraduate loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2017, and before July 1, 2018

$3,500 to $5,000 per year

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

4.45% for undergraduate loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2017, and before July 1, 2018; 6% for graduate loans

$5,500 to $12,500 per year for undergraduate students; up to $20,500 per year for graduate students

Direct PLUS Loans

For Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2017, and before July 1, 2018, the interest rate is 7%

Maximum loan amounts are limited to the cost of attendance in school minus other financial assistance you receive

Private student loans for dental school

Private loans offer an alternative option for dental students to use instead of, or in addition to, federal student loans. Private student loans are offered through private lenders, which means their rates and repayment terms vary. Many dental students wind up taking out private student loans once they have borrowed as much federal aid as they could receive.

Pros of private student loans:

  • Rates can be lower than federal loans if you have excellent credit and/or a co-signer
  • Loan limits can be high enough to cover your entire cost of admission
  • The application process and loan disbursement may happen faster than federal student loans

Cons of private student loans:

  • You typically need good or excellent credit to qualify
  • You may need a co-signer
  • Interest rates can be fixed or variable
  • You don’t qualify for federal student loan forgiveness, income-driven repayment, or federally sponsored deferment or forbearance
  • You may need to make payments or pay interest while still in school

When to consider private loans:

  • You’ve tapped out your federal student loan limits but still need to borrow money
  • You qualify for a lower interest rate
  • You don’t want to take advantage of federal plans or protections on your student loans
 

Interest Rates


Borrowing Limits


Credit Requirement

Discover Student Loans

Variable rates from 4.62% to 8.62% APR; fixed rates from 6.49% to 9.99% APR

Borrow up to 100% of the cost of attendance minus other aid

Students may need excellent credit to qualify without a co-signer

Sallie Mae Student Loans

Variable rates available from 3.62% APR to 8.37% APR; fixed rates from 5.75% APR to 8.37% APR

Borrow up to 100% of the cost of attendance

You may need excellent credit to qualify without a co-signer

Citizens Bank Student Loans

Variable rates available from 3.53% APR to 9.69% APR; fixed rates available from 5.26% APR to 10.24% APR

Loan amounts from $1,000 to $295,000

Good or excellent credit required

College Avenue Student Loans

Variable rates available from 4.07% APR to 9.60% APR; fixed rates available from 6.22% APR to 10.66% APR

Borrow up to 100% of the cost of attendance

Good or excellent credit required without a co-signer

*Rates current as of Feb. 28, 2018.

Grants & fellowships for dental students

This program is offered through the Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center and is open to 1-2 dental students per year. The goal is to help students apply classroom and lab experiences to real-world scenarios students will find in the field of dentistry.

  • Award amount: Award varies.
  • Qualifications: You must be a dental student to qualify.
  • Deadline to apply in 2018: Application period opened in mid-January and closes in mid-March.

This award was created to encourage dental students to conduct important research in their field by creating a financial incentive. The goal of the award is to promote advances in preventative dentistry.

  • Award amount: A $5,000 grant is awarded to one student each year.
  • Qualifications: According to the American Dental Association Foundation, dental students pursuing this grant must be in pursuit of one of the following dental degree programs at an eligible institution: D.D.S. or D.M.D., D.D.S./D.M.D. and Ph.D. dual degree, Ph.D. or equivalent, or M.P.H., M.S. or equivalent.
  • Deadline to apply in 2018: The application period opens the first Friday of each April and closes the last Friday of each June.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Special Awards is a partnership between the Society for Science & the Public and the Intel Foundation. Students in high school can win a variety of prizes including scholarships, summer internships, equipment grants, and educational trips.

  • Award amount: Cash prizes total $3,500 for outstanding projects related to dentistry and oral health. The American Dental Association Foundation sponsors these awards.
  • Qualifications: The award is open to any student presenting at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
  • Deadline to apply in 2018: Winners are selected among those who present at the fair.

Scholarships for dental students

This ADA Foundation scholarship helps select students defray the overwhelming costs of dental education and is meant to apply to academically gifted students.

  • Award amount: Scholarships up to $2,500 are available.
  • Qualifications: Students must be in their second year of school, must be enrolled full time, must demonstrate financial need, and must have a GPA of at least 3.25. References and minority status are also required.
  • Deadline to apply in 2018: Applications were due by 11:59 p.m. Central time on February 2, 2018.

This program offers two $5,000 awards to dental students who are nominated by someone else after demonstrating leadership skills in pursuit of their dental education.

  • Award amount: Two $5,000 awards are granted each year.
  • Qualifications: Students must be nominated and be in the process of earning a D.D.S. or D.M.D. degree from a dental school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Students must also be under the age of 40 and a student, graduate student, or resident in their first five years of residency.
  • Deadline to apply in 2018: The nomination period begins the first Friday in April and ends the last Friday in June.

This scholarship is open to 27 dental students nominated by the dean of their school.

  • Award amount: Awards come in the form of $5,000 scholarships.
  • Qualifications: Students must be nominated by the dean of their school and must be in the class of 2018 or class of 2019 at a dental school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Students must also demonstrate financial need.
  • Deadline to apply in 2018: A 2018 deadline will be announced soon.

The TYLENOL Future Care Scholarship is open to U.S. students who are actively seeking a degree that will help them treat patients.

  • Award amount:Scholarships are awarded in both $5,000 and $10,000 amounts.
  • Qualifications: Students must be in pursuit of a degree that leads to a career treating patients. Students must also have at least one year left in school.
  • Deadline to apply in 2018: The application period opens May 1, 2018 and ends on June 28, 2018 for the following school year.

This scholarship, which was created to commemorate Senator Barry Goldwater, is open to students who pursue research careers in natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

  • Award amount: Scholarships of up to $7,500 per year are available.
  • Qualifications: You must be a full-time sophomore or junior student pursuing a dental degree or a degree at a four-year or two-year school. Medical research must be a central part of your career goals.
  • Deadline to apply in 2018: Application period opens the first Tuesday in September and ends the last Friday in January.

Part III: How to Pay Back Dental School Debt

Due to the many federal and private loan programs available, students entering dental school have plenty of options to compare and contrast. Since dental school funds borrowed need to be repaid eventually, however, it’s important for students to educate themselves on their many repayment options as well.

Repayment programs to consider

Here are the repayment programs students can choose as they wrap up their dental degrees.

Income-Driven Repayment Plans

For federal student loan borrowers, there are several different income-driven repayment programs, each with their own stipulations and intended audience. The following table highlights each program and how it works.

 

Payment Amount

Repayment Period

Eligibility

Loan Forgiveness

Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
(PAYE Plan)

Generally 10% of your discretionary
income, but never more than your payment on 10-year Standard Repayment Plan

20 years

Your payment under this plan must be less than what you would pay under standard, 10-year repayment

Yes

Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
(REPAYE Plan)

Generally 10% of your discretionary income

20 years for undergraduate loans and 25 years “if any loans you’re repaying under the plan were received for graduate or professional study”

Any borrower with eligible federal student loans can qualify

Yes

Income-Based Repayment Plan
(IBR Plan)

Generally 10% of your discretionary income if your loan originated after July 1, 2014, but never more than the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan; generally 15% of your discretionary income if you’re not a new borrower on or after July 1, 2014; either way, you’ll never pay more than the payment on a standard, 10-year repayment plan

20 years if you’re a borrower on or after July 1, 2014; 25 years otherwise

Your payment under this plan must be less than what you would pay under
standard, 10-year repayment

Yes

Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR Plan)

20% of your discretionary income or what you would pay over the course of fixed 12-year repayment plan

25 years

Any borrower with eligible federal student loans can qualify

Yes

Is an income-driven repayment plan right for you?

Income-driven repayment may be a good option for dental students who want to make lower monthly payments than they would with standard, 10-year repayment plans. These plans are also a good option for students who want their loans forgiven after 20-25 years. Keep in mind, however, that forgiven loan amounts are considered taxable income in the year they are forgiven.

How to apply

Apply for income-driven repayment programs using the U.S. Department of Education website.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Plan offers students the opportunity to have their student loans forgiven after 10 years provided they work in an approved public service position during that time. Once a student finds eligible employment and starts working, they can have their loans forgiven after 10 years and 120 months of timely loan payments.

While this program can be advantageous for dental graduates, it’s important to note that changes to this program could be on the way. It still works as promised for the time being, but budget cuts of the future could bring this program to an end or bring on considerable changes to benefits.

Who is eligible?

Dentists who agree to work in government-approved public service positions may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. You can learn more about qualifying employment here.

Is this program right for you?

This program can work well for dentists who want to work in public service or in an area with a high need for dentists and other health care workers. After 10 years, your loan balances will be forgiven, and you are free to move on to other employment if you wish.

How to apply

Fill out an application for PSLF with the U.S. Department of Education as soon as you can.

Army Dental Corps Program

This program offers tuition assistance up to 100% for individuals who serve in the U.S. Army while working on their degree. The Army will pay your tuition, your required books, and most academic fees while offering a monthly stipend of up to $2,000.

Who is eligible?

Dental students who qualify to serve in the U.S. Army may qualify for this program. You must be 21-42 years of age, be a U.S. citizen, and meet prescribed medical standards.

How to apply

For additional information, contact your local Army recruiter, call 1-800-USA-Army, or visit Healthcare.GoArmy.com.

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program

This program offers tax-free loan repayment assistance for individuals entering qualified health care careers. Licensed health care providers may earn up to $50,000 for a two-year commitment to NHSC-approved employment in a high-need area.

Who is eligible?

Dentists who agree to work in an NHSC-approved career for at least two years can qualify for this assistance.

How to apply

Contact the National Health Service Corps to apply. You can also explore the NHSC website for tips on the application process.

State Loan Repayment Programs for Dentists

 

Program

Eligibility

Alaska


The SHARP Program for dentists offers new dentists up to $35,000 in loan repayment assistance per year.

Dentists must agree to a commitment of at least two years in a high-need shortage area.

Arizona

The Arizona State Loan Repayment Program offers up to $65,000 per year in
repayment assistance for dentists for two years, with lower repayment amounts offered in subsequent years.

You must be a U.S. citizen and dentist who agrees to work in a state-approved high-need position.

California

The California State Loan Repayment Program offers up to $50,000 in loan forgiveness for dentists.

Applicants must be a dental graduate who agrees to at least a two-year commitment in an eligible, state-approved dental position.

Colorado

The Colorado Health Service Corps offers up to $90,000 in loan forgiveness for dentists who qualify.

You must agree to practice for three years in a state-approved shortage area for a practice that accepts public insurance and offers discounted services to those with low incomes.

Delaware

The Delaware State Loan Repayment Program offers up to $70,000 for mid-level practitioners and up to $100,000 in loan forgiveness for advanced practitioners in dentistry.

Dentists must work full time for two years in a state-approved, high-need position.

Georgia

The Dentists for Rural Areas Assistance Program provides up to $25,000 in loan repayment assistance per year for dentists who work in high-need areas.

This program is available to dentists who agree to work in shortage areas in the state of Georgia.

Illinois

The Illinois National Health Service Corps State Loan Repayment Program offers up to $50,000 in loan repayment assistance.

Applicants must be licensed dentists or health care practitioners who commit to at least two years of service.

Iowa

The Iowa Loan Repayment Program offers up to $50,000 in loan repayment
assistance for individuals who agree to a full-time commitment and less for a part-time commitment.

This program requires a two-year commitment in a state-approved shortage area.

Kansas

The Kansas State Loan Repayment Program offers up to $25,000 in assistance per year.

Applicants must agree to a two-year commitment in an eligible position.

Kentucky

The Kentucky State Loan Repayment
Program
awards up to $300,000 in loan repayment assistance to up to 13 applicants.

Applicants must agree to a two-year commitment to work in a shortage area where dentists are in demand.

Louisiana

The Louisiana State Loan Repayment
Program
offers up to $30,000 in annual loan repayment assistance for up to three years.

Applicants need to work for three years full time in a designated high-need area approved by the state.

Maine

The Maine Dental Education Loan Repayment Program offers up to $20,000 per year in loan repayment assistance for up to four years.

Applicants must agree to at least a two-year commitment in an underserved area.

Maryland

The Maryland Dent-Care Loan Repayment Assistance Program for Dentists offers up to $23,740 per year in repayment assistance.

Dentists must agree to work in an underserved area for a minimum of three years.

Michigan

Dentists who qualify for the Michigan
Loan Repayment Program
can receive up to $200,000 in loan repayment assistance.

Applicants must work full time in a high-need area for at least two years.

Minnesota

The Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program offers up to $20,000 in loan assistance per year.

Dentists must agree to work in a shortage area for at least two years to qualify.

Missouri

Dentists who qualify for the Missouri
Health Professional State Loan
Repayment Program
can receive up to $50,000 in loan repayment assistance.

Dentists must agree to a two-year commitment in a shortage area.

Montana

The Montana NHSC Student Loan
Repayment Program
provides up to $15,000 in loan repayment assistance for up to two years.

Dentists must agree to a two-year commitment in a shortage area.

Nebraska

This state program offers up to $20,000
per year in loan repayment assistance for up to three years.

Applicants must agree to a three-year commitment to employment in a designated shortage area and accept Medicaid patients.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s state program offers up to $75,000 in loan repayment for a full-time commitment.

Dentists must agree to work in a designated shortage area for at least three years.

New Jersey

The Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program of New Jersey helps certain health care practitioners earn up to $120,000 in loan repayment assistance.

Eligible candidates must agree to at least a two-year service commitment, and up
to four years for higher levels of loan repayment.

New Mexico

New Mexico’s Health Professional Loan Repayment Program offers up to $25,000 in assistance per year.

Applicants must agree to a two-year service agreement in a state-approved position.

North Carolina

The state of North Carolina offers up to $100,000 in loan repayment assistance for dentists.

Dentists must agree to a four-year commitment in a shortage area.

Ohio

The Ohio Dentist and Dental Hygienist
Loan Repayment Program
doles out up to $50,000 in exchange for a two-year commitment.

Dentists must agree to work full time for two years in a high-need area.

Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Dental Loan Repayment Program can help you qualify for up to $25,000 per year in loan repayment assistance.

This program is available to dentists who serve in rural or underserved areas.

Oregon

Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment offers tiered levels of
assistance based on candidate and site eligibility.

Dentists must agree to a two-year service commitment.

Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Primary Health Care
Loan Repayment Program
provides dentists with up to $100,000 in loan repayment assistance in exchange for a
full-time commitment.

Dentists need to agree to a two-year
service agreement.

Rhode Island

The Health Professionals Loan Repayment
Program
provides varying levels of assistance for dentists who qualify.

Dentists must agree to at least a two-year commitment in an underserved community.

South Carolina

The Rural Dentist Loan Repayment Program offers loan repayment
assistance to dentists who agree to work in underserved areas.

Eligible dentists will agree to work full time in a qualifying position. Priority is given to those who can demonstrate financial need.

South Dakota

The Recruitment Assistance Program
offers up to $208,754 in repayment assistance currently, but the amount changes annually with the price of college admission at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine.

Dentists must agree to practice full time in a shortage area for at least three years.

Tennessee

Dentists who apply for the Tennessee
State Loan Repayment Program
may qualify for up to $50,000 in assistance for a two-year commitment.

Dentists must agree to work for two years in a designated shortage area.

Vermont

The Educational Loan Repayment for
Health Care Professionals
gives out $20,000 in loan repayment assistance per year.

Dentists must agree to work at a qualified site. Eligibility requirements change annually.

Virginia

The Virginia Department of Health offers
loan repayment of up to $140,000 for a four-year commitment or up to $100,000 for a two-year commitment.

Dentists must work in a shortage area orqualified site approved by the state.

Washington

Dentists in Washington can apply for a
Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program with a maximum award of $75,000

Dentist must work in an approved site for at least 24 hours per week for at least three years.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin offers a Health Professions Loan Assistance Program with a maximum award of $50,000 for dentists.

Dentists must work at least three years in a designated shortage area.

5 tips to pay off your student loans faster

While loan repayment programs can help you whittle away your student loans, there are several strategies that can help you reduce the amounts you owe whether you sign up for special programs or not. Here are five tips to pay your loans off faster no matter your situation or how much you owe:

#1: Start paying right away.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s blog, paying your loans right away – whether you have to or not – can be a smart move. While student loan payments may not be required until you graduate, you can reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay over time by paying any amounts you can toward your loans as you can.

#2: Refinance your loans to a lower rate.

Refinancing student loans into a new loan product with a lower interest rate and better terms can help you save money on interest over the long haul. This is especially true with private student loans since rates tend to be competitive and can change over time. Keep in mind, however, that refinancing federal student loans with a private lender can cause you to miss out on certain federal perks and protections including income-driven repayment, deferment, or forbearance.

Signing up for automatically debited payments can take the stress out of repaying your student loans. By setting up automatic bank drafts, you can rest assured your loan payment is taken care of and you won’t face late fees or penalties. Some lenders also offer an interest rate reduction for enrolling in their automatic payment plan. This is where savings come into play since a lower interest rate means less of your payment goes toward interest over time.

Our top picks for refinancing dental school debt

LenderTransparency ScoreTermsFixed APRVariable APRMax Loan Amount 
Laurel Road BankA+

Up to 20


Years

2.80% - 6.00%*


Fixed APR

1.89% - 5.90%*


Variable APR

No Max


Undergrad/Grad
Max Loan
Learn more Secured

on Laurel Road Bank’s secure website

EarnestA+

Up to 20


Years

2.98% - 5.79%*


Fixed APR

1.99% - 5.64%*


Variable APR

No Max


Undergrad/Grad
Max Loan
Learn more Secured

on Earnest’s secure website

SoFiA+

Up to 20


Years

2.99% - 6.09%*


Fixed APR

2.25% - 6.09%*


Variable APR

No Max


Undergrad/Grad
Max Loan
Learn more Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

CommonBondA+

Up to 20


Years

2.78% - 5.59%*


Fixed APR

1.99% - 5.41%*


Variable APR

No Max


Undergrad/Grad
Max Loan
Learn more Secured

on CommonBond’s secure website

LendKeyA+

Up to 20


Years

2.99% - 8.77%*


Fixed APR

2.00% - 8.57%*


Variable APR

$125k / $175k


Undergrad/Grad
Max Loan
Learn more Secured

on LendKey’s secure website

Citizens BankA+

Up to 20


Years

2.99% - 8.49%*


Fixed APR

1.99% - 8.24%*


Variable APR

$90k / $350k


Undergraduate /
Graduate
Learn more Secured

on Citizens Bank (RI)’s secure website

Discover Student LoansA+

Up to 20


Years

$150k


Undergraduate /
Graduate
Learn more Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

#3: Sign up for automatic payments.

Signing up for automatically debited payments can take the stress out of repaying your student loans. By setting up automatic bank drafts, you can rest assured your loan payment is taken care of and you won’t face late fees or penalties. Some lenders also offer an interest rate reduction for enrolling in their automatic payment plan. This is where savings come into play since a lower interest rate means less of your payment goes toward interest over time.

#4: Pay more than the minimum payment.

This tip might seem obvious, but it’s extremely important. Whether you start paying your loans off right away or wait until you graduate and have to start making payments, paying more than the minimum will let you pay off your loans faster. The more you can pay toward the principal of your loan balance, the more you save on interest and the faster your loans will disappear.

#5: Consider a loan repayment program.

Some of the programs we listed above (such as the PSLF Plan or state loan repayment assistance programs) can help you get out of debt faster while gaining valuable work experience. These programs typically require you to work in a specific shortage area for a predetermined length of time, so they’re not for everyone. If you do qualify and apply, however, you could have your loans forgiven completely or earn tens of thousands of dollars in loan repayment assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions: Paying for Dental School

Determine your current interest rate and compare it to the new rate you could qualify for. If the difference is substantial, refinancing can make a lot of financial sense. With a lower interest rate, you could save money and pay off your debts faster. However, it’s important to remember that you’ll lose federal student loan benefits if you refinance federal loans with a private lender.

The amount you’ll save depends on the amount you owe, your old interest rate, and your new rate and loan terms. A student loan calculator can give you a general idea of your savings.

One of the best ways to reduce the amount of money you owe for dental school is to spend less on your education to begin with. As you consider dental schools, make sure to compare program details such as the price of tuition, room, and board. How much you pay for school has a direct correlation to how much you’ll need to borrow.

Start by filling out a FAFSA form, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form helps schools determine how much federal aid you might qualify for. You should also contact the financial aid office at your dental school. They can point you toward applicable school-based scholarships and grants you may not even know about.

While the amount of time it takes dental students to find employment varies, the ADEA reports that dental school graduates typically enter the workforce much faster than colleagues in many other health professions.

According to the ADEA, any college major that offers a well-rounded education or fosters a foundation in science is appropriate for future dental students. This goes against the common wisdom that a major in biology or a similar subject is required.

The ADEA reports that both designations mean the same thing – that the dentist graduated from an accredited dental school. Universities determine which degree they award, and it has no bearing on employment opportunity or earnings.

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