University of Central Florida (UCF) officials announced in May they are looking at opening a dental school in 2014. The university hopes to graduate 100 dentists a year near its College of Medicine location in the heart of Lake Nona’s “medical city.”
Only two accredited dental schools reside in Florida: the University of Florida College of Dentistry in Gainesville and Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale. Both colleges receive more applications than they can accept.
"The [new] College of Dental Medicine will mean opportunities for our local students to obtain a dental education that they must now leave our area to achieve," UCF President John Hitt said in a statement. "The college will create opportunities to help more people in need of dental care who cannot afford it. And it will provide Central Florida with new jobs and an economic boost in challenging times."
The university will need to borrow roughly $40 million to pay for start-up costs. An anonymous donor will provide $10 million to get the project started. UCF is not planning on seeking state money for the dental school.
The new school would be located in Lake Nona, home to several health-sciences facilities, including UCF’s College of Medicine, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Orlando, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, and the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
The school will need approval by the university’s Board of Trustees first, followed by a review by the Florida Board of Governors. Once approved, it will then need accreditation from the American Dental Association before it can market the program and accept applications.