There is both good news and not so good news regarding borrowing for dental school, but just remember two important principles:
1. Never borrow more than you really need, and
2. Plan to pay back what you borrow.
- Approximately one out of five dental school graduates in the Class of 2016 reported either no student loan debt or debt less than $100,000.
- Average debt for all indebted dental school graduates in the Class of 2016 was $261,149.
- Average debt for all indebted dental school graduates in the Class of 2016 for public and private dental schools was $237,477 and $290,856, respectively.
- Over 30% of indebted dental school graduates in the Class of 2016 reported debt in excess of $300,000.
- Dental school graduates have a great reputation for timely repayment.
- You can fund your entire
COA (Cost of
Attendance ) with federal loans (combination of Unsubsidized Federal Stafford and Federal Grad PLUS Loans), negating the need for private loans.
- You may enter the income stream after graduation faster than other health professions colleagues, which may allow for aggressive repayment.
- It is easier than ever to track your federal student loans in the
National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).
- You may graduate with multiple federal loans, but they are likely going to be serviced by just one loan servicer.
Not so good news
- Your entire student loan portfolio may be unsubsidized, with interest accruing from time of disbursement; interest that will eventually be capitalized (added back to the principal).
- Interest rates on new Stafford and Grad PLUS Loans change each year, and the caps are high.
- Currently, you cannot refinance these loans at a lower rate through federal programs.
- Changes may be coming on different repayment plans, such as the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE), as well as forgiveness programs including Public Service Loan Forgiveness.