Financial Aid Opportunities for Dental Students

Text compiled from the American Dental Association (ADA) website, American Dental Education Association (ADEA) website, the American Student Dental Association  (ASDA).

According to the ADEA, the average dental student graduates with more than $250,000 of debt.  It is important for students to plan ahead to minimize their educational expenses.  Students are encouraged to do their own research to find financial opportunities that are of interest to them.  For financial planning tips from the ADA, click here.  For a video from the ADEA on financing your dental education, click here.

Loan Repayment Programs and Resources

Click here to access a list from the ADEA of federal and state programs that offer loan repayment assistance.  This form of repayment is often in exchange for services in a healthcare shortage area.


Federally Funded

  1. Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students
    1. These scholarships provide funds to eligible schools for the purpose of providing scholarships to full-time, financially needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds enrolled in health professions programs.  For more information, call HRSA, 888-275-4472.
  2. National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program
    1. Dental students may compete for NHSC scholarships beginning their sophomore and junior years.  The program offers payment of tuition and fees, books, supplies, and equipment and includes a monthly stipend.  In exchange, they must agree to provide oral health services for a minimum of two years in any underserved community identified by the NHSC as being a critical need area.  For more information, contact NHSC, 800-221-9393
  3. Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarships (HPSP)
    1. The U.S. Armed Services offers scholarships to dental students that pay for tuition and fees, books, and a monthly stipend.  The active duty obligation is one year of service for each year of scholarship support with a minimum of three years of active duty service.  Scholarships are available annually from all service branches.  For more information, contact the individual branches of service or view the websites for these organizations:
      1. Army Dental Corps
      2. Navy
      3. Air Force

Private Organizations

  1. ADA Scholarship Program
    1. The ADA Foundation provides more than $850,000 in grants, awards, and scholarships through its various programs each year.  Scholarship disbursements are made and sent directly to the student’s financial aid office.  The submission deadlines vary and application materials must be obtained from the applicant’s school.
  2. ASDA Scholarships
    1. The ASDA provides a non-exhaustive list of scholarships available to dental students (and a few for predentals) to help alleviate the cost of dental school.


Financial Aid for Academic Dentistry

  1. Income Driven Repayment Plans (IDRs)
    1. IDRs are a great way for borrowers to pay back federal student loans if an individual’s debt is high in comparison to their income. There are a variety IDRs that almost always result in affordable payments, regardless of how high one’s federal student loan debt is.  Some examples include Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE).
  2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
    1. This government program will forgive any remaining federal debt for borrowers after 10 years of qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while the borrower works for an eligible PSLF employer.  The forgiveness amount with PSLF is not considered taxable income, so it is a great way for borrowers working in the public sector to eliminate their debt after a relatively short period of time.  Eligible employers include nonprofit organizations such as teaching hospitals and academic institutions.