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The Cost of Dental School and How to Pay For It

18-02-2022 - 7:27 AM | 财经

To become a dentist, you’ll typically need to complete four years of undergraduate studies, then another four years of dental school. And unfortunately, this doesn’t come cheap. While Bureau of Labor Statistics data puts the…

To become a dentist, you’ll typically need to complete four years of undergraduate studies, then another four years of dental school. And unfortunately, this doesn’t come cheap.

While Bureau of Labor Statistics data puts the median annual salary for dentists at $164,010, they also leave school with an average of $304,824 in student loan debt, according to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). Also keep in mind that as a new dental school graduate, you’ll likely earn much less than the average to start.

If you’re wondering what the cost of dental school is and whether it’s worth it, here’s what you should know:

  • Average cost of dental school over four years

  • How to pay for dental school

  • 8 best dental school student loans

Average cost of dental school over four years

How much you’ll pay for a dental program can vary depending on whether you’re a resident or nonresident student as well as on other expenses — such as your living costs.

Here are the average costs you can expect for four years of dental school, according to the American Dental Association (ADA):

  • Residents: $259,990

  • Nonresidents: $325,891

Keep in mind: Attending an in-state school as a resident is generally less expensive than attending an out-of-state school as a nonresident. However, not every state has a dental school, which could also impact your overall cost.

How to pay for dental school

If you’re ready to figure out how to cover your dental school costs, follow these five steps:

1. Fill out the FAFSA

If you need to pay for school, your first step should be completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your school will use your FAFSA results to determine what federal student loans and other federal financial aid you’re eligible for.

Tip: Be sure to fill out the FAFSA before the deadline. For the 2022-2023 academic year, you have until June 30, 2023.

Keep in mind that some aid is given on a first-come, first-served basis — so it’s wise to submit the FAFSA as early as possible, especially if you have high financial need.

2. Apply for scholarships and grants

Unlike student loans, college scholarships and grants don’t have to be repaid — which makes them a great way to pay for dental school. There’s no limit to how many scholarships and grants you can get, so it’s a good idea to apply for as many as you can.

Many scholarships are available specifically for dental students, such as the:

  • ADEA/MouthWatch Predoctoral Dental Student Scholarship for Innovation: Sponsored by the ADEA and MouthWatch, this $1,000 award is available to full-time students who have completed at least one year of dental school.

  • Dental Trade Alliance Foundation Scholarship: This award is available to full-time dental students with financial need who are nominated by the dean of their dental school or the dean’s designate. Award amounts range from $5,000 up to $25,000, depending on your nomination ranking and the donations received by the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation.

You might also qualify for school-based scholarships depending on your FAFSA results. Additionally, you can use sites like Fastweb and Scholarships.com to easily search for awards that you might be eligible for.

3. Take out federal student loans

If you need to borrow money to pay for dental school, it’s usually best to rely on federal student loans first. This is mainly because these loans come with major federal benefits and protections — such as access to income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs.

Tip: After you submit the FAFSA, your school will send you a financial aid award letter detailing the federal student loans and other federal financial aid you qualify for. You can then decide which aid you’d like to accept.

Here are the two main types of federal student loans that dental students could be eligible for:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students regardless of financial need. Unlike with undergraduate subsidized loans, you’re responsible for all the interest that accrues on unsubsidized loans.

  • Grad PLUS Loans are a category of Direct PLUS Loan available to students who want to pay for grad school or professional programs — such as dental school. PLUS Loans generally have higher interest rates compared to unsubsidized loans. They also require a credit check.

Tip: Graduate and professional students typically have an aggregate borrowing limit of $138,500 for Direct Unsubsidized Loans. However, as a dental student, you might be able to borrow up to $40,500 per year in unsubsidized loans. You can ask your school’s financial aid office for more information on how to qualify for this higher amount.

With PLUS Loans, on the other hand, you might be able to borrow up to your school’s cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you’ve received.

4. Consider HRSA programs

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) provides loans to schools, which are then passed on to students with financial need. Loans that might be available to dental school students include:

  • Health Professions Student Loans

  • Loans for Disadvantaged Students

Tip: You can ask your school’s financial aid office if they participate in any HRSA programs and, if so, how to apply.

5. Shop around for private student loans

After you’ve exhausted your scholarship and grant options and applied for any federal and HRSA loans that you’re eligible for, private student loans could help fill any financial gaps left over. These loans are offered by private lenders, such as online lenders as well as traditional banks and credit unions.

Note that private student loans don’t come with federal protections. However, they do offer some benefits of their own — for example, you can apply at any time and might be able to borrow more than you’d get with a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

Tip: Unlike with most federal student loans, you’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for a private student loan. A good credit score is usually considered to be 700 or higher. Some lenders offer student loans for bad credit, but these loans tend to come with higher interest rates compared to good credit loans.

If you’re struggling to get approved, consider applying with a creditworthy cosigner. Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify, having one could get you a lower interest rate than you’d get on your own. Just keep in mind that if you can’t make your payments, your cosigner will be on the hook.

8 best dental school student loans

Many private lenders offer student loans for dental school. Some even provide specialized loans that are designed specifically for dental students as well as loans that can be used to cover the cost of dental residency or relocation.

If you decide to take out a private student loan to pay for dental school, it’s important to shop around and consider as many lenders as possible so you can find the right loan for you. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders below that offer private student loans for dental school in just two minutes.

Lender

Fixed Rates From (APR)

Variable Rates From (APR)

Loan amounts

Loan terms (years)

Offers specific dental school loan?



Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.36%+

1.46%+

$2,001 to $200,000

7 to 20

Yes

  • Fixed APR: 3.36%+

  • Variable APR: 1.46%+

  • Min. credit score: 540

  • Loan amount: $2,001 to $200,000

  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20

  • Repayment options: Full deferral, fixed/flat repayment, interest only, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability

  • Fees: None

  • Discounts: 0.25% to 1.00% automatic payment discount, 1% cash back graduation reward

  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or DACA student enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program

  • Customer service: Email, phone

  • Soft credit check: Yes

  • Cosigner release: After 24 months

  • Loan servicer: Launch Servicing, LLC



Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.23%+1

N/A

$1,000 to $350,000 (depending on degree)

5, 10, 15

Yes

  • Fixed APR: 3.23%+1

  • Variable APR: N/A

  • Min. credit score: 720

  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $350,000

  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15

  • Loan types: Any private or federal student loan

  • Repayment options: Full deferral, full monthly payment, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability

  • Fees: Late fee

  • Discounts: Autopay, loyalty

  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states (international students can apply with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident cosigner)

  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat

  • Soft credit check: Yes

  • Cosigner release: After 36 months

  • Loan servicer: Firstmark Services



Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.94%+2,3

0.94%+2,3

$1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance

5, 8, 10, 15

Yes

  • Fixed APR: 2.94%+2,3

  • Variable APR: 0.94%+2,3

  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose

  • Loan amount: $1,000 up to cost of attendance

  • Loan terms (years): 5, 8, 10, 15, 20

  • Repayment options: Full deferral, full monthly payment, fixed/flat repayment, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability

  • Fees: Late fee

  • Discounts: Autopay

  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be making satisfactory academic progress.

  • Customer service: Email, phone

  • Soft credit check: Yes

  • Cosigner release: After 24 months

  • Loan servicer: College Ave Servicing LLC

custom choice



Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.2%+

1.03%+

$1,000 to $99,999 annually
($180,000 aggregate limit)

7, 10, 15

No

  • Fixed APR: 3.2%+

  • Variable APR: 1.03%+

  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose

  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $99,999 annually ($180,000 aggregate limit)

  • Loan terms (years): 7, 10, 15

  • Repayment options: Full deferral, immediate repayment, interest-only repayment, flat/full repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability

  • Fees: None

  • Discounts: Autopay

  • Eligibility: Not available to residents of AZ, IA, or WI

  • Customer service: Phone, email

  • Soft credit check: Yes

  • Cosigner release: After 36 months

  • Loan servicer: American Education Services

  • Min. income: Does not disclose

edvestinu student loan refinance



Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.02%+7

2.37%+7

$1,000 to $200,000

7, 10, 15

No

  • Fixed APR: 3.02%+7

  • Variable APR: 2.37%+7

  • Min. credit score: 750

  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $200,000

  • Loan terms (years): 7, 10, 15

  • Repayment options: Full deferral, full monthly payment, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferment, loans discharged upon death or disability

  • Fees: Late fee

  • Discounts: Autopay

  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have a minimum income of $30,000.

  • Customer service: Email, phone

  • Soft credit check: Yes

  • Cosigner release: After 36 months

  • Loan servicer: Granite State Management & Resources (GSM&R)



Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.33%+8

1.69%+8

$1,001 up to 100% of school certified cost of attendance

5, 10, 15

No

  • Fixed APR: 3.33%+8

  • Variable APR: 1.69%+8

  • Min. credit score: 670

  • Loan amount: $1,001 up to cost of attendance

  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15

  • Repayment options: Full deferral, full monthly payment, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferment, forbearance

  • Fees: Late fee

  • Discounts: Autopay, reward for on-time graduation

  • Eligibility: Must be an Indiana resident or a U.S. citizen attending an eligible Indiana school

  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat

  • Soft credit check: Yes

  • Cosigner release: After 48 months

  • Loan servicer: American Education Services



Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.75%+

N/A

$1,500 up to school’s certified cost of attendance less aid

15

No

  • Fixed APR: 3.75%+

  • Variable APR: N/A

  • Min. credit score: 670

  • Loan amount: $1,500 up to cost of attendance less aid

  • Loan terms (years): 10, 15

  • Repayment options: Full deferral, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferral, forbearance

  • Fees: None

  • Discounts: None

  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be making satisfactory academic progress.

  • Customer service: Email, phone

  • Soft credit check: Yes

  • Cosigner release: After 48 months

  • Loan servicer: American Education Services (AES)



Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.5% - 12.6% APR9

1.13% - 11.23% APR9

Up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance

15

Yes

  • Fixed APR: 3.5% - 12.6% APR9

  • Variable APR: 1.13% - 11.23% APR9

  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose

  • Loan amount: $1,000 up to cost of attendance

  • Loan terms (years): 10 to 15

  • Repayment options: Full deferral, fixed/flat repayment, interest only, academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability

  • Fees: Late fee

  • Discounts: Autopay

  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Also available to non-U.S. citizen students (including DACA students) attending a school located in the U.S. who apply with a qualifying cosigner.

  • Customer service: Phone, chat

  • Soft credit check: Yes

  • Cosigner release: After 12 consecutive on-time payments

  • Loan servicer: Sallie Mae

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