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Financial Aid and Scholarships for Dental Students

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

Pursuing a career in dentistry will most likely require financial support in some way or another. To lessen the amount of student loans, dental students can seek other financial aid and scholarships by inquiring dental schools and seeking scholarships both on campus and off campus.

Dental School Financial Aid Options

Dental students should start on campus. The financial aid office can provide detailed information on all financial aid possibilities. Every student desiring financial aid should fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. The application information helps to determine a student’s individual financial aid need and award possibilities.

Some general financial aid options include federal work-study programs, grants, scholarships, and loans. Besides these awards, dental students can also seek dental school scholarships, as well as outside scholarships offered by a number of organizations nationwide. Here are some examples:

College Scholarships

The University of Pennsylvania’s Dental Medicine offers two financial aid options for dental students. The Penn Dental Medicine Grants are given to those students demonstrating financial need. Eligibility for these need-based grants is available for up to four years. The School of Dental Medicine Dean’s Scholarships are awarded annually to top dental students, based on grade point average, application documents, and DAT scores. This scholarship pays for half of the recipient’s tuition each year for up to four years.

Outside Scholarships

Dental students can also seek outside scholarships and awards. There are several associations, organizations, and endowments set up specifically for dental school expenses.

The American Dental Association (ADA) offers the ADAF Scholarship Program. This program typically offers $2,500 scholarships to up to ten dental students each year, depending on funding availability. In addition, ADA offers up to ten $2,500 scholarships to underrepresented minority dental students through another scholarship.

The National Dental Association offers the National Dental Association Foundation/Colgate Palmolive Scholarship which is awarded to African Americans, and those of underrepresented minority groups pursuing occupations as dentists, dental assistants, and dental hygienists.

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) offers the Dr. Kiyoshi Sonoda Memorial Scholarship to qualifying dental students. Applicants must be active members of the JACL to apply.

Other outside awards include:

  • The Academy of LDS Dentists Scholarship which is given to dental students who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the amount ranging from $1,000 to $1,500.
  • Alva Appleby Scholarship which is awarded to Maine residents in the minimum amount of $500 who are enrolled in an accredited dental school.
  • American Academy of Implant Dentistry which is offered to dental residents who have interest in implant dentistry. Grant amounts are $2,000, plus an additional $500 for travel expenses.

State Scholarships

For those dental students who are legal residents of New Jersey, they can also consider the Martin Luther King, Jr. Physician and Dentist Scholarship. This award is given to students within a select ethnic group who demonstrate financial need. Awards granted are typically the amount of tuition.

Loan Options for Dental Students

Out of all the financial aid options for students attending dental school, they can expect to predominantly pay by student loans. Most institutions offer federal loans through the financial aid office. These typically include the Federal Perkins Loan, and the Federal Stafford Subsidized Loan.

Other loan options include: Health Professions Loan—for some medical fields, including dentistry. Dental students must be full-time students who demonstrate a high financial need to apply for this loan; Loans for Disadvantaged Students—available for certain disciplines including dentistry. Dental students must be financially needy and from a disadvantaged background to apply for this loan; and, Private Loans—which are the student’s responsibility. When seeking private lenders, be mindful that their rates are typically higher than federal loans, so these loans should be used as a last resort.

Key Points on Financial Aid for Dental Students

  • Complete a FAFSA to be considered for any federal or state financial aid offered to students at the college or university you are attending. And, be sure to have all pertinent materials in front of you when completing the application online.
  • Check with the dental school at the institution you are attending. Here departmental scholarships are found to help defray college expenses.
  • Be sure to check state financial aid opportunities. Depending on the state, additional awards are available.
  • Use the Internet to seek outside scholarships. Many dental associations or other health-related organizations offer scholarships for dental students.
  • Start your scholarship search early. And, be sure to note all scholarship requirements and deadlines to ensure all materials are submitted in time for consideration.
  • Loans have to be repaid eventually. Look into other loan options before considering private loans—these should be sought as a last resort.

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