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
Grants and scholarships are your best financing options, as 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.
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 organizations such as ADEA.
- Report receipt of these scholarships to your FAO.
- 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 that you make the commitment earlier and receive the funds earlier.
- The armed forces, NHSC and Indian Health Service offer programs
Loans must be repaid. The majority of dental students use student loans, most
frequently Unsubsidized Federal Stafford and Federal Grad PLUS Loans, to help
them pay for dental school. Dental school graduates are known for responsible
repayment. Make sure you understand the different types of loans and the benefits and downsides of each
before seeking them out.
While working may be very challenging during dental school, if you want to work
ask your FAO about work-study programs.
Fellowships and Traineeships
Talk with your FAO regarding availability of these funds and application
Education Tax Breaks
These 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 assistance.