Like many of your
fellow students, you may need financial aid to help pay for school, and that
likely means taking out student loans.
borrowing starts with looking at all of your financial aid options first.
Grants and scholarships
and scholarships are your best financing options because they never have to be
repaid. Grants and scholarships directly from the school may be based on need
or merit, or a combination of these. Some scholarships are tied to a service
commitment (for example, the National Health Service Corps [NHSC] and the armed
forces). Check with the financial aid office (FAO) at your institution about
availability and application deadlines for grants and scholarships.
In general, there are
three categories of grants and scholarships to consider:
- Institutional Grants and Scholarships
Based on need and/or merit.
Check with your school’s FAO about applications and deadlines.
- Outside Scholarships
- Awarded by organizations other than the school.
- You must apply for these independently.
- Use free search engines such as www.fastweb.com or visit organization websites, such as ADEA.
- Report receipt
of these scholarships to your FAO, as your total financial aid from all sources
can never exceed your total cost of attendance (COA), including outside
- Service Commitment Scholarships
- Provide financial support while you are in school in exchange for your service after graduation.
- These are similar to loan repayment programs except you make the commitment earlier and receive the funds earlier.
- The armed
forces, National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and Indian Health Service (IHS) offer
programs. Your FAO can help.
loans must be repaid. The majority of dental students use student loans to help
pay for dental school. The most common types of loans used by dental students
are the federal direct unsubsidized loan and the federal direct PLUS (formerly
known as Grad PLUS). Dental school graduates are known for responsible and
timely repayment. Make sure you understand the different types of loans and the benefits and downsides
of each before applying for them. Once again, your FAO can help.
during dental school may be challenging due to the curriculum demands of dental
school. However, if you want to work during dental school, ask your FAO about
Fellowships and Traineeships
Talk with your FAO regarding availability of these funds and any application
Education Tax Breaks
breaks tend to be “back end” benefits for some students and graduates who file
a tax return. Consult with a professional tax advisor or other qualified
financial advisor for more information or check out IRS Publication 970, Tax
Benefits for Education, at www.IRS.gov.